INSME is an initiative promoted by the Italian Government within the OECD Bologna Process on SMEs.
The term "Bologna Process" refers to the international initiatives undertaken to take forward the political recommendations adopted during the OECD Ministerial Conference on SMEs and Globalisation held in Bologna, Italy, in June 2000 co-organised by the Italian Government.
This Process, to be seen in a mid to long term perspective, is marked by actions aiming at moving forward the SME Agenda at international level and strengthening policy dialogue and co-operation between OECD and non-OECD Countries, International Organisations and NGOs, public and private sectors on issues related to the needs and challenges of SMEs in a global and knowledge-based economy.
The considerations emerged in the First OECD Ministerial Conference were embodied in the Bologna Charter on SME policies. The Ministers and Government representatives who adopted this Charter also embraced the Italian Government proposal to finance and carry out a Feasibility Study for the creation of INSME.
Completed in November 2002, the Feasibility Study outlined the Objectives, the business model and the target group of the Network. In order to take the INSME Process forward, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and its governmental agency, the Institute of Industrial Promotion (IPI), invited countries and International Organisations participating in the Bologna Conference to join an international Steering Group with the specific aim of guiding the INSME Feasibility Study and the INSME Process. This Steering Group was established in July 2000.
In mid-February 2004 the network evolved into an independent legal entity (the INSME Association) initially founded by organisations from Italy, Romania, Spain and Switzerland. With the formal set up of the Association, the INSME Steering Group was renamed and transformed into the Advisory Group, an international committee, composed, on a voluntary basis, by public or private bodies with reliable experience and competence on innovation, technology transfer and SMEs related issues.
In June 2004, a Second OECD Ministerial Conference on SMEs was held in Instanbul (Turkey) in order to reconfirm the importance of the Bologna Process and to underline the necessity of identifying "best practices” regarding innovation and technology transfer to SMEs and developing policy recommendations. You can read the final document of the Bologna process clicking here.
In the same year, INSME was granted the OECD moral sponsorship and the consultative status by UNIDO's Industrial Development Board.