Call for expression of Interest


Introduction: THINGS + project

THINGS+ – Introducing service innovation into product-based manufacturing companies is a project financed under the second call of INTERREG Central Europe Programme 2014-2020 with the aim of improving CE entrepreneurs’ innovation management capacities, thus helping firms to cope with changing market forces is the project main objective.

Global trends show that products today have a higher service component and that the addition of service offerings to the portfolio of traditionally product-oriented companies is growing in importance, with innovative new business models underpinning Product-Service Systems. THINGS+ will directly improve competencies of entrepreneurs in developing and implementing service innovation, thus contributing to the SO 1.2.1 of Central Europe Programme.

A specific objective of THINGS+ is to develop and introduce service innovation into product-based manufacturing SMEs, giving more emphasis on the service-based economy by creating product service systems that will allow companies to offer to the potential customers a marketable mix of products and services or simply products marketed as services (rented heavy machinery, billable flight hours of jet engines etc.) capable of jointly fulfilling user’s needs.

By teaching CE SMEs entrepreneurs how to introduce servitization of products in their companies they will have a competitive advantage to cope with changing market forces, shrinking markets and increased commoditization of their products.

Aim of the call

The present call is addressed to entrepreneurs running an SME in the Central Europe program area and it is aimed to select a test bed of 50 companies that will learn and apply to their own business model the Service Innovation Methodology developed in the frame of the THINGS+.

Selected companies will take part in a training programme during which THINGS+ experts will transfer knowledge and methods related to service innovation and support participants in the concrete application of the newly acquired competencies. During a six months long pilot action, upskilled entrepreneurs and/or employees will develop new product-based services for their own portfolios and market them.

In the framework of the pilot action, all companies will be supported by THINGS+ experts that will provide tailor-made mentoring to put into practice servitization principles. The first part of the pilot activities will be dedicated to the development of the new product-based service and to its integration in the company offers. The second part of the process it’s expected to serve to launch in the global market the new services to verify the market acceptance and how to ensure durability and competitiveness to the company offering in terms of long-term changes in its business model.

 Requirements to participate

The call is open to companies with the following features:

  1. be an SME according to the definition of the Eu recommendation 2003/361
  2. be established in the Central Europe Programme Area
  3. be committed to appointing at least 2 people from the management board of the company to attend the training and implement the six months long pilot action
  4. have received no more than 200.000 euro in de-minimis regime in previous 2 fiscal years

For the purposes of the THINGS+ project and the characteristics of the Service Innovation Methodology, the pilot action is mainly addressed to Central European manufacturing companies, to which the Service Innovation Methodology has been developed for. Exceptions will be assessed case-by-case by the national committees and approved by the THINGS+ project Steering Committee.

 Selection procedure

Companies will be admitted on a first come best-served principle: up to 50 SMEs at project level will be selected, each country drafting a list of 6 selected companies meeting the requirements as described in point III. Exceeding applications will be considered for a second pilot action to be activated starting from January 2019 and included in a reserve list.

The THINGS+ Steering Committee will approve the final ranking list of companies. In order to comply with project-specific objective, the ranking list will be balanced at a transnational level in order to reach an equal geographical distribution.

Selected companies will be informed by the contact person of the partner organization in their country. Selected companies will be requested to subscribe a contract and to provide a de minimis self-declaration before being included in the pilot programme. Both documents are provided in fac simile as annexes to the present call for information purposes.

The companies included in the reserve list may be asked to join the pilot action in case of withdrawal of a company selected for the ranking list.

How to apply

Candidate SMEs can send their application (use the provided Application Form) via email to within the deadline settled in point VI.

Deadline and timeline

The call will be open from 26th of April until 26nd of May.

The results will be published on the THINGS+ project website and on project partners’ websites.

Contact person and reference

Jan Orava
+420 739 027 166