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] 

Science Meets Regions: Successful workshop in North East Romania

There were two days full of energy and enthusiasm, June 9-10, 2022, in which representatives of public authorities, hospital managers, doctors, university professors, and

Save the date: SME Success Stories Call Webinar

Vanguard Initiative and Steinbeis Europa Zentrum invite you to join the webinar planned on Thursday 23 June from 10:00 to 11:00 CEST.

VI at the Technology & Business Cooperation Days

The Technology & Business Cooperation Days in Hannover will allow Vanguard Initiative Pilots participants to showcase and promote their activities gaining visibility

The Vanguard Initiative is launching its first SME support Scheme!  

The SME Success Story Call to open on 3 June  The Vanguard Initiative is launching the SME Success Story Call on 3 June.

SAPHIRe final conference & Smart Health Pilot event

On the afternoon of the 26 of April, the Smart Health Pilot organised its first physical ple

Progress update from the Nano pilot

NeMs4BIO democase is preparing a project proposal for the I3 call The leaders of NeMs4BIO democase, Imec (Flanders) and Oost agency are preparing a proj

Pilot Action Plan 2022: 3DP

The document is available here.

Annual Report 2021: ADMA

The report is available here.

Annual Report 2021: ESM

The report is available here.

Action plan 2022: Artificial Intelligence

The document is available here.

Annual Report 2021: Bioeconomy

The report is available here.

Virtual award ceremony AI-Champions BW 2022

Minister Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut will be opening the award ceremony, and Ilka Groenewold will moderate the event. Two exciting keynotes will follow

Smart Health Pilot Info day

On Tuesday 28 June from 09:00 to 10:30 the Vanguard Initiative Smart Health Pilot is hosting an Info Day Webinar to provide an opportunity to EU regions interested in joining the

SME Success Stories Call Webinar

Vanguard Initiative and Steinbeis Europa Zentrum invite you to join the webinar planned on Thursday 23 June from 10:00 to 11:00 CEST.

VI 3DP Pilot Plenary Meeting

The VI 3DP Pilot Plenary Meeting will take place on the 22 and 23 June 2022 in Eindhoven, during the 3D Delta Week. The VI 3DP Pilot i


The IV° edition of the International Cluster-to-Cluster Meeting (C2C) will be held on 8-9 June 2022.

Shaping bio-based value chains through cross-regional cooperation

The transition toward a greener and more circular production form based on renewable raw materials represents an essential step toward competitive and su