A project to support the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. It is supported by the European Union and France this Wednesday, July 8, 2020, and the Ministry of Industry and SMEs. Its actions will be implemented until the first half of 2022.

Called “EU4Innovation”, this project provides for a device helping to set up a regulatory and financing framework conducive to innovative entrepreneurship.

As well as startups in Tunisia. It is launched with the aim of accompanying “innovation strategies through a new work organization. More collaborative in the public service”.

“The hierarchical model must be questioned and adapted to a new organization to be proposed in the public service. The project mode must gain ground and Tunisian public managers would benefit from becoming aware of it”. Thus explains the Director General of Innovation, at the aforementioned ministry, Kais Mejri.

Economic development through startups

The challenge is also the economic and social development of Tunisia through, in particular, innovative young companies. The project aims to develop, in a concrete and rapid way, the innovation purchase intentions of public buyers to generate tangible results and revenues from startups in the short term.
To achieve this main objective and generalize the public purchase of innovation, the General Directorate of Innovation at the Ministry of Industry, will focus its actions. And this, on 3 major construction sites.

First, it is a question of designing and adapting the tools, in particular regulatory tools, to facilitate the public purchase of innovation.
Secondly, to strengthen the professional skills of public and private actors and thirdly to communicate on the support of innovation through public procurement.

“We want, through this initiative, to support the Tunisian public buyer. And this, until its rise in competence and maturity,” adds Mejri, recalling that the project is based on the findings of an expert mission, carried out from March 2 to 5, 2020 as part of the INNOV’I – EU4Innovation project (Innov’i).

Facilitating startups’ access to public markets

The project also helps and facilitates access for startups to public markets. And this, in particular through regulations and new financing techniques.

It will make it possible to remove, after clarifying the definitions related to innovation, technical or legal obstacles. And this, in order to facilitate the access of startups to public markets. While identifying the obstacles or possible simplifications in the context of a public procurement procedure.

Among the tools facilitating the growth of startups thanks to public procurement. The manager cited the collaborative reverse factoring device. The latter allows a payment from the startup within 48 hours upon validation of the invoice.

“The public organization is facing a problem to which it has no answer. And this, despite a first sourcing. It will therefore move towards a platform for purchasing innovations and launch a call for projects or skills. To initiate this approach, it would be relevant to start from the “Tunisia Innovation” portal. And this in the “calls for innovative projects” section “.

Solutions must be innovative

It must allow companies to establish direct contact with the public sector. And this, by presenting a differentiated competence before the drafting of a call for tenders. Companies can send a spontaneous proposal, or respond to a call for skills.

This one mentions the objectives to be achieved in terms of performance. The companies
interested fill out a standard form in which they present themselves.
“Once public buyers have been trained in the innovation purchasing approach, use this type of online platform to simply express their needs to the community of innovative companies. In return, proposing a new, innovative solution will be a vector of appropriation and realization of a public innovation purchase”.

In order to monitor the evaluation and the evolution of public procurement of innovations, the observatory of
public procurement or the Ministry of Industry and SMEs could propose, once the semantic framework linked to innovation procurement has been defined, a national indicator, following the example of what is being done internationally (France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland …), estimating a minimum % of public innovation procurement in target 2022.This will presuppose beforehand the right restitution tools.

Innovation a determining factor

An indicator could also focus on the innovative company and be shared in open data with users and taxpayers (LEVEL 2).
This would make it possible to engage the administrations in a logic of transparency of the results.

Finally, while the experimentation removes part of the doubts, a priori, on the ability of a
innovation to fill a need, the follow-up of execution makes it possible to justify, a posteriori, the investment in innovation, taking into account the economic performance obtained.

The monitoring of the execution of public contracts is therefore a strategic economic tool favorable to any innovative approach.

Indeed, the unprecedented health crisis linked to Covid-19 has highlighted a rapid need
innovation in medical equipment, treatments, transport, logistics.
“The EU4Innovation project fits perfectly into this perspective aimed at urgently professionalizing the public buyer who will be able to capture, through a rigorous and efficient purchasing method, the best innovative solutions for his country.

With TAP