Exporting North Jutland

To reinforce the economy and employment, the County of North Jutland launched a method of personalised accompaniment for regional export businesses or candidates to become such.

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Leaflet of the programme. Leaflet of the programme.

Context

The North Jutland Export Programme was launched in 2000 following a study by the University of Aalborg which showed that the economy of this region of 500,000 inhabitants, covering the northernmost point of the Danish peninsula, had an untapped export potential estimated at 540 to 670 million euros. The county authorities therefore set up a workgroup to articulate a method for promoting exports. The aim was to increase employment and turnover from exports in small and medium-sized businesses in North Jutland, whether or not they had previous export experience. Once they had become exporters these companies could then pursue their activities on foreign markets.

From working group to steering committee

The workgroup was made up of members of the Danish Trade Council alongside a group of private exporters, specialists from the University of Aalborg, representatives from the Office for promoting regional commerce (“EC Nord”) as well as the county civil servants most experienced in the area of exports.

The workgroup metamorphosed into a steering committee, responsible for the smooth running of the programme, when the programme was set in motion and when funds had been mobilised by the National Agency for Enterprise and Construction.

The County of North Jutland is the managerial authority and administrative leader of the programme. EC-Nord looks after operational aspects, beginning with carrying out an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate businesses. EC-Nord prepares the dossier requesting European financing.

Business angels

A network of consultants provides advice, accompaniment and services adapted to the specific needs of each selected business. The subsidy can be used by the benefiting businesses for covering external expenses such as consultants’ fees and expenses. On the basis of the business’s needs, the consultant can carry out a study of the market, articulate an export strategy, give advice regarding organisation or development, etc. The financial aid covers 70% of the cost of consultancy, with a ceiling of 93 euros per hour. The business pays the balance. At the end of the project, EC-Nord carries out an audit to check that the funds have been properly and fully used. The County then pays the balance of the subsidy.

Results

87 businesses have benefited from this programme at a total cost of 1.5 million euros. The programme has been so successful that the County has launched a new phase, destined for 150 businesses and finishing at the end of 2006.

The Export Programme constitutes an innovative and effective use of ERDF’s financial leverage.
Its innovative aspect lies in the fact that articulation of the programme stems from intensive cooperation between national institutional partners (National Agency for Enterprise and Construction, Danish Commercial Council, etc.) and regional ones.

Furthermore, the involvement of the University of Aalborg, from conception to evaluation of the projects, has the benefit of guaranteeing high-quality monitoring throughout the process. Reciprocally, the programme is a precious source of knowledge of the internal and external functioning of business in North Jutland. The Export Programme also shows how ERDF financing can be used flexibly, both on the level of the project and on regional/national level. Such overall effectiveness leads to good results for participating companies, a high level of satisfaction concerning services rendered and ease of access to the programme.

Draft date

01/03/2006