Enterprise Europe Network, the network that serves as a bridge with Europe to SMEs through Eurochile
Within the framework of the project to develop business tourism in Antofagasta, the director of Networks at Eurochile, Manuela Caruz, gave the companies participating in the project a workshop on tools for the internationalization of their business, where the EEN can play a key role through the connection with European companies and organisations.
Know the advantages of connecting your company with Europe and how to achieve it, that was the main objective of the workshop “Internationalization Tools: Enterprise Europe Network” carried out by the director of Networks at Eurochile, Manuela Caruz, to entrepreneurs and participants of the project “Internationalization Node of MICE Tourism in Antofagasta”; a project that is carried out by the Foundation together with Corfo Antofagasta and GEDES and which is currently in the development phase.
And in this context, she presented the advantages of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), the most important support network for SMEs in Europe and one of the largest worldwide, whose main objective is to promote the competitiveness of small and medium-sized companies through internationalization, technological and commercial transfer.
Created by the European Union in 2008 and originally designed to act only with its member states, today this network is present in more than 60 countries in the world, and integrates approximately 4 thousand experts and more than 600 organisations in Europe and beyond. Eurochile was a pioneer in our country and in Latin America in having access to this network and today it is the only contact point with EEN in Chile.
The framework of associative possibilities for national companies is broad, since among its members are chambers of commerce, technology centers, science parks, public and private organisations specialised in work with SMEs, public and private development agencies, business federations of SMEs, as well as networks of innovation centers and agencies, among others.
“The main service of this network is the uploading of technological and commercial profiles -both offer and demand- to a platform from where that information is disseminated to all countries and network partners, so that a partner can search within its contacts -and customers- the company we are looking for from Chile for a specific customer ”, explains Manuela Caruz about its operation.
It also allows – she adds – to obtain information on certifications, regulations, technical standards, market operations, specific policies and contacts in Europe.
“If you know about a company or technology in a specific country, we can make that contact through this network. We can also learn about products and new trends in Europe, and obtain information about projects or calls that involve Chile. We can organise individual or group meeting agendas; participate in fairs, visit technology centers, universities, companies, and organise visits as well as participate in business conferences”, says the director of Networks at Eurochile.
To this, a “mentoring” project has been added this year, so that European companies that have developed or that have made progress in solving a problem can pass on that experience to Chilean companies.
“What we have done is that we send a profile from a Chilean company -for example- to our counterpart in Europe, which helps us to contact a company so that it can transfer knowledge, experience or whatever the Chilean company requires. It is a pilot that has been very successful, because the connection is one to one, from company to company, and it solves the specific problem for the Chilean SME”, explains Caruz.
Among the main advantages of the EEN for Chilean SMEs is that it is a transversal, multisectoral network, “where all actors are welcome.” It allows exploring new markets, and the advice of Eurochile, as the network’s point of contact in the country, makes it possible to overcome language barriers and help in the search for profiles according to needs. A network that also has no costs.
“We say that the network is the connection for the European Union, and in our country the EEN offers an opportunity to connect – with personalised services – through Eurochile. Therefore, we are the point of contact and the bridge between Chile and Europe”, affirms Manuela Caruz.
Eurochile manages inquiries about the European market through the network with the support of the different contact points, and the service they provide can range from the orientation of information sources to find it on their own, to more specific information. And being a network endorsed by the European Commission, the information there is very reliable, and it guarantees that the contacts are serious.
“The profile, together with the offer -or the needs- is uploaded to the network and disseminated, and from there contacts are generated with European partners. Based on the information that comes to us, we deliver it to the client in Chile to see if there is interest, and if there is interest from our country and from Europe, contacts are made. Then the negotiation and future talks take place directly between the companies, although we can support if necessary. You are the experts, the ones who know your business and its needs. Therefore the conversation is between you”, says the director of Networks.