TAFTIE Annual Conference 2012

Taftie Annual Conference 2012


On 11th June the Annual Taftie Conference took place in Cambridge.


Small Business Innovation
Stimulating Entrepreneurship and Growth

The Taftie Conference report 2012 is now available: download


You can read here the foreword:


This year Taftie, the European Association of leading national innovation agencies, celebrates
its 20th anniversary. Twenty years of building a network of key stakeholders all focused on
the design and implementation of national innovation and entrepreneurship programmes,
as well as working in partnership to inform and advise stakeholders at a European level.
In this context, our 2012 conference theme is both timely and critical to the efforts of
national and European stakeholders in their endeavours to better understand the dynamics
of innovation, entrepreneurship and growth within SMEs. Across Europe budgets to support
small businesses and stimulate growth are under immense pressure and finding ways of
making public investment in small business growth and competitiveness more effective
and impactful is paramount. 
For this reason our conference focused on the growing understanding and importance of
High Growth SMEs. A tiny segment of the SME population that represents just 6% or so of
the total number of businesses but accounts for half of all economic growth in virtually all
European countries. Through the collation and analysis of hundreds of person-years of economic
studies and SME surveys (all provided as an appendix to these proceedings) from over one hundred
academic, governmental and business organisations, and the presentation and debate of key
conclusions, we have been able to identify game-changing implications for policy makers and
programme delivery agencies.


Some of these have already radically changed the way national governments are identifying which
businesses to support and how they should be supported, in order to gain significantly greater
economic impact from public investment into research, innovation and enterprise support to small
businesses. To share and spread this important new knowledge and to support its use to deliver
economic growth, we gathered in Cambridge over 100 participants and key speakers from both the
public and private sector, representing over 40 organisations from 25 countries. This group of
highly experienced innovation policy and programme development experts has, we believe, produced
real thought leadership on this topic, a topic that the organisers believe is at the heart of the road
to European recovery and the evolving balance of government support for growth with government
restraint in spending.

I hope you, as the reader, will find this record of events both enlightening and as potentially important
to the future of SME support policy in Europe as many of the national delegates did.
John Hill
CEO Pera, Co-Chair Taftie 2012
Organiser of the Cambridge Conference