Enterprise Europe Network, the network that opens opportunities for collaboration with Europe in times of pandemic
Covid-19 has become a challenge for companies, but at the same time it has facilitated international cooperation between them to take advantage of the new opportunities arising from the pandemic, a turning point towards new markets, new services and new products. The new world of virtual encounters, where travel is no longer necessary, has also driven this phenomenon. A recent seminar carried out by Eurochile and madri + d explains how to get the best out of this global business network, of which the foundation is the only contact point in Chile.
The pandemic has not only brought a series of complexities and challenges for small and medium-sized companies in Chile and around the world. In a scenario in which processes, business models and strategies had to be redefined, to the point of even reinventing in many cases; the need to seek answers to common challenges has opened a series of opportunities for cooperation and internationalisation, to seek new partners and develop new business alliances, while the change in carrying out forums and seminars to the online format has allowed many companies to participate in events that previously required trips abroad.
With the aim of providing tools to take advantage of this new scenario, the Eurochile Business Foundation held the seminar “Opportunities for cooperation with the European Union in times of pandemic”, organised jointly with the Fundación para el Conocimiento madri+d of Spain and the network Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), the largest support network for SMEs with international view and which Eurochile is the only contact point in our country.
“Eurochile has been supporting SMEs for 28 years and it has belonged to the EEN since 2008. It is the only member in Chile of this network that operates with the endorsement of the European Commission. This network is a tool that allows us to support business cooperation inserted in our mission to create, promote and consolidate economic, commercial and technological links between medium and small companies and Chilean institutions, and nations from the European Union – both public and private-, being a facilitator of the internationalisation process of the SMEs”, explains Nina Morales, director of the Foundation’s Business Cooperation and Institutional Affairs Area.
In recent months, she adds, Eurochile has worked with the EEN to identify opportunities for SMEs, which led to the realisation of this seminar to showcase the network’s offer and opportunities during 2021; how to access the network and how to take advantage of it, considering that the EEN is the key for the exchange of experiences that allow SMEs to be more innovative and generate new business.
“In the current scenario, we believe that it is important to identify and generate spaces for cooperation, as well as to foster and promote relationships with national and international counterparts, in this case Europeans. Last year we were co-organizers of 17 virtual brokerage events in different sectors, with more than 250 registered Chilean companies. This year, within the framework of the network, we want to continue with this work of identifying opportunities for our companies, which means that we are already co-organizers of 7 brokerage events”, says Nina Morales.
New opportunities in Europe
To explain the scope of these cooperation opportunities, the seminar featured a presentation by Jesús Rojo, head of the Technology Transfer and European Programs Area of madri+d, a public foundation whose purpose is to help companies, citizens and entities who work in R+D+i to carry out their research and technological innovation projects.
According to Jesús, although Covid-19 has become a challenge for Spanish, European and Chilean companies, it has also facilitated international cooperation between companies and being able to seize these new opportunities arising from the pandemic, “which in principle has been very negative for our customers, but it has been a turning point for Spanish companies to turn to new markets, new services and new products”.
In his presentation, he explained the way in which the EEN works with its clients, which he considers a follow-up from day one until they manage to develop all their capacities and financing opportunities for their R+D+i activities. “This journey with our clients has no end, because as we continue working with them we help and advise them on new opportunities, all developed according to their needs,” he explains.
Today, he adds, the EEN not only works on internationalization, but also provides advisory services on exports, international trade, intellectual property, mentoring in European programs, etc., covering the entire spectrum of research, innovation and technological development. .
A personalized action plan is developed for all clients through the elaboration of technological and commercial profiles. Financing opportunities are sought for them with European partners or from other countries; expressions of interest from other countries are monitored and also networking events are added.
And to the usual actions of the network, he adds, at madri+d “we have added this year as pilot program -because from 2022 it will be mandatory for all partners of the EEN worldwide- sustainability services, digitalization and resilience, and that are aligned with European Commission policies such as the 2030 Agenda, the Green Deal, Digital Europe and, in terms of resilience, being able to overcome the crisis we are experiencing through programs such as Next Generation, which is the great European recovery program ”.
“All this is reflected – Jesús Rojo adds – in different activities and services that we offer: marketplace, brokerage events, communication activities, workshops and other advanced services. I think this Horizon Europe funding programme is a good opportunity for Chilean companies, which begins in May with the launch of the new calls. It is the largest research and innovation programme in the world, with a budget of approximately 100 billion euros, where Chilean companies will be able to benefit from these funds”.
How to join the EEN and take advantage of its benefits
In this context, Reyes Sansegundo from the Technology Transfer and European Programmes Unit at madri+d encouraged national companies to participate in the events that the network is organizing for 2021, “because the brokerage events are unique opportunities, you will have the opportunity to go to many places without leaving your chair. Take advantage, because it is free and it is something that has never happened, and you can try to get something good out of the pandemic”.
Among the events that stand out this year is “Care & Industry together against Corona”, launched in 2020 in view of the global search for solutions to the common challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a collaborative platform that aims to bring together different initiatives and actors that are working on Covid-19 solutions.
This platform already has more than 997 registered and approved participants that everyone can access. “This is public, anyone can enter, and we are 42 countries participating in this platform and 80 meetings have already been held to try to find that matching and solutions focused on the different Covid issues. As for Chile, they have been very active within the platform thanks to Eurochile, which is co-organizer of this event, giving support to its 23 clients that are already active as of December 2020,”she stated.
This platform operates as a catalog for surveillance and search of companies or institutions that are working on vaccines, diagnosis, testing and clinical trials, or therapeutic issues. And it works like any event of the EEN within the framework of the B2Match platform, so its operation also applies to the 114 events scheduled in it for the next few months.
How to take advantage of it? As Reyes Sansegundo explains, the first step is “to complete basic information in English -because we are always in an international environment-, and the platform will give you to choose a series of keywords to identify your technologies or products, and it will ask you for a brief description of what the company does. There is also a specific section of the marketplace, where you have to include all possible information and say what kind of collaboration you are looking for, or what you offer, what is your star project, so that it stands out from other profiles ”.
Then, she adds, as the profile progresses, an option that says ‘support office’ will appear. “In this case, you should always select Eurochile, and if they do not appear in the list, contact with them, because that is the job of the EEN partner to accompany you during the process and also to clear up doubts. That is why it is important that as advisers we know you and your interests. Once this is done, Eurochile will receive a new registration message, and after verifying that all the previous points are correct, your profile will be approved, and there the work of requesting meetings or receiving meeting invitations begins”, she explains.