What We Do

SMEs and Intermediary Organisations

The Vanguard Initiative offers a platform for businesses, clusters and knowledge institutes to meet and join forces in finding new innovative solutions.
Together, we aim to increase the competitiveness of companies and scale-up regional businesses in Europe-wide value-chains.
The Vanguard Initiative’s Pilot Projects offer unique possibilities for businesses, clusters, and knowledge centres to connect with like-minded partners across European regions that share a joint goal; to strengthen industrial innovation in Europe. The benefits of interregional partnerships, established through the Pilot Projects, include exploiting complementarities, project development at the demonstration and piloting stage towards upgrading and business exploitation (beyond TRL 5), opening and sharing specialised infrastructure, access to a larger community of end-users, pooling good practices as well as jointly addressing non-technological issues, etc.
The participating stakeholders in the Pilot Projects get access to exclusive networks of pilot plants, demo-sites, and partners, working together to accelerate the market uptake of advanced technologies and methodologies in areas of strategic importance to Europe’s industry.

SME Success Story Call to open on 03 June

The Vanguard Initiative is launching the SME Success Story Call aimed at facilitating the involvement of innovative SMEs in the VI pilot activities.  

Financial aid will be provided to SMEs facing obstacles in their innovation processes in one of the thematic and industrial areas of the VI Pilots. The VI Innovation Voucher will consist of a one-time, lump-sum payment of 11.000 euros to finance interregional collaboration activities between at least two legal entities (of which at least one SME) registered in at least two different VI regions and countries.  

The initiative, which has been developed under the leadership of the Steinbeis 2i GmbH (Baden Württemberg), will allow creating success stories through interregional cooperation to showcase the potential VI impact on SMEs, but also strengthen SME- driven interregional value chains and promote faster market uptake of products and services. 



Key Dates: 

  • 03.06.2022 launch of the call  

  • 14.07.2022 Call closure and evaluation of the applications by the selection committee  Steinbeis logo 2

  • 27.07.2022 Applicants informed  

  • 30.08.2022 (latest) Signed sub-grant agreements received by the managing authority Steinbeis  

  • 30.01.2023 (latest) Submission of the final report for evaluation  

  • 15.02.2023 (latest) Voucher payment to beneficiaries  

  • February 2023 (TBD) Presentation of the results at the General Assembly 

For more information, please contact [email protected] 

Vanguard Initiative’s Smart Health Pilot’s Local Stakeholders from across Europe meet at Plenary Event in Brussels

Last Friday, the Smart Health Pilot’s plenary event was held at the House of Dutch Provinces in Brussels, in presence of representatives from the pilot’s participating regions’ ecosystems, as well

success, strategy, business
Vanguard Initiative will contribute to the newly launched S3 Community of Practice Secretariat

As a dedicated advocate of Smart Specialisation and cluster-based Interregional cooperation to foster new industrial growth in EU regions, the Vanguard Initiative is t

AI Pilot - Startup BW Summit 2022

The AI Pilot Event 2022 will take place at the Startup BW Summit 2022 in Stuttgart on Friday, 30 September 2022 from 09:00 CEST. 

cup, podium, trophy
The evaluation results of the SME Success Stories are out!

The Vanguard Initiative SME Success Stories evaluation results are finally out and we are proud to announce the winners of this new Vanguard support scheme.

Science meets regions - Lower Austria

Please find here the presentations shared during the event.

Science meets regions - North East Romania

You can download all the presentations shared during the event at the top right of this page.

Action plan 2022: Nano

The document is available here.

Annual Report 2021: 3DP

The report is available here.

Action Plan 2022: Bioeconomy

The document is available here.

VI Bioeconomy meeting

Hybrid meeting – open to an online audience via MS Teams.

AI Fusion 2022

AI FUSION is the new, international stage of the AI scene 29 - 30 September 2022 | Messe Stuttgart

Kick-off meeting of Hydrogen (H2) Pilot

Małopolska Region, Lombardy Region, and Slovenia are organising a kick-off meeting of Hydrogen (H2) Pilot which will be held in

renewable energy, environmentally friendly, concept