In order to compete, Europe's enterprises must focus on innovation and internationalisation. The Enterprise Europe Network is a key tool for achieving these goals and these new centres in Japan, China and North Africa will create even more opportunities for companies. It is more important than ever for those involved in the Network to discuss how to build an even stronger business partnership.
The European Commission is extending the outreach of the Enterprise Europe Network – the business and innovation support network for SMEs - by opening new contact points in Japan and doubling its presence in China.
The aim is to see more European small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) profit from the fast growing markets in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
The Commission is also extending the Network in southern Mediterranean countries, with eight contact points in place in Tunisia, a longstanding partner in Egypt and Moroccan branches to be set up soon. The Network helps firms to find potential partners in European and world markets and to turn research and innovation into profits.
On the occasion of the Network’s fourth Annual Conference in Warsaw on 26th September, five winning SMEs received the special ‘Network Stars’ awards. These awards recognise companies and researchers who have used the Network to find opportunities abroad or to develop their businesses and research.
The Business network becomes international
The Japanese Network operates via two centres in Tokyo, based in the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Other new countries to have recently joined the Network include Ukraine, Moldova and Mexico.
The new focus on Africa is conceived to be of mutual benefit for SMEs in the EU and in Mediterranean neighbour countries, where a favourable environment for SMEs and further economic development is essential for political stability.
Further EU support for SMEs to go international will be the subject of a communication which the European Commission will table before the end of 2011.
Star SMEs win prizes
The ‘Network Stars’ awards given at the Network's Annual Conference in Warsaw recognise companies and researchers who have used the Network to find opportunities abroad or to develop their businesses and research. The winners are:
Background and results
The Network spans 49 countries and is made up of close to 600 partner organisations employing 3,000 experts. The organisations include chambers of commerce, enterprise agencies, regional development organisations, research institutes, universities, technology centres and innovation centres.
The Network was launched in February 2008 by the European Commission and is a key part of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, which aims to encourage competitiveness in European businesses. In the past three years, it has: