Stimulating innovation in “traditional” SMEs


To optimise the potential financial benefits of these developments for the regional economy.


The Ark Foundation

The Ark’s Innovation service has launched a project in January 2015 which aims to stimulate the development of products by “traditional” SMEs, that is those which are more involved in subcontracting. The aim is to optimise the potential financial benefits of these developments for the regional economy.

SMEs who are active in subcontracting represent a significant proportion of the regional industrial economic fabric, and are often referred to as “traditional” SMEs. They include, for example, machining workshops who produce all kinds of parts, industrial sheet-metal workers who manufacture elements for panels or machines, woodworking companies who construct high-quality interiors, and electrical/electronic engineers who install electrical or electronic equipment in line with their clients’ requirements.

All these companies are primarily industrial service providers, producing and manufacturing items required by their clients. What they provide are not products in themselves, but elements within a client's products. Most of these SMEs dream of commercially developing their own products, but the transition from “subcontracting” to “product” is a challenge for them.

A more significant financial return

On the basis of these findings, The Ark Innovation service launched a project this January with the aim of optimising the creative activity and product development of these SMEs. The ultimate aim is to use this commercial development to ensure a more significant financial return for the cantonal economic fabric.

First of all, the project will identify the existing and future potential in a selection of SMEs, and put forward solutions enabling them to successfully surmount these challenges and to provide proof (through activity and sales) that it is all financially viable.

Breathing new life into existing products

The project will enable “traditional” SMEs’ existing products to be relaunched, giving them a new lease of life. This relaunch alone will make a significant contribution to the Valais economy.
If all the objectives are achieved, the project will have laid the foundations for the marketing of new business innovations, optimising the value gained from the products born of the creativity and ingenuity of Valais SMEs.


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