Northern Denmark generates export growth
With an untapped export potential for the region estimated at €540 to €670 million, the North Jutland Export Programme in Denmark has been instrumental in providing support to small businesses to boost regional exports and job opportunities. Figures calculated following the conclusion of the project period showed marked increases in both exports and turnover.
"The export programme proved a resounding success with 124 private companies taking part from 2004–2008. Exports were up 35% and 900 new jobs were created."
Andy Jensen, Region Nordjylland
The 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 in the northernmost point of the Danish peninsula could benefit from a strategic programme focused on seizing lucrative export opportunities. Some 87 businesses saw this opportunity and soon benefited from the programme in the form of high sales figures and grants for consultancy costs.
Providing support behind the scenes
County authorities initially set up a working group to design a method that SMEs in North Jutland could use to promote exports. The main aim was to increase employment and revenues from exports. Following this, a network of consultants began providing tailor-made services for the specific needs of businesses, including market studies and advice on what strategies to deploy when it comes to exporting. The grants provided covered 70% of consultancy costs.
On board and on target
This programme has clearly shown that the innovative and effective use of financial support from EU regional funding does work. With a total of 87 businesses already benefiting from the programme, a new phase has been launched and is looking to get some 150 businesses on board.
Numbers tell a success story
Since the initiative began, aggregate turnover of the businesses taking part has increased by €8.6 million, while the aggregate sales value has also risen by €6 million. The North Jutland region has benefited in terms of employment, with an estimated 404 additional people securing work either directly or indirectly as a result of the project.