The EU recognises the importance of cross-border business and internationalisation and to this effect it created what is known as the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). The main objective of the EEN is to open doors for European SMEs that want to grow by helping them make the best of opportunities in the EU and beyond.
With EEN representations established in all EU regions and in other key global markets, SMEs can have access to information ranging from EU policy to international tenders, as well as facilitated means to connect with businesses from all sectors.
In Malta, to date this service was provided by Malta Enterprise. A new work programme came into effect as of January 2015, whereby the European Commission revised and did an overhaul of the EEN’s strategy and objectives. In view of these changes, four local organisations came forward and offered to pool resources and make their expertise available to offer a more consolidated and value added service to the local business community. In this respect, the new EEN services in Malta for the coming years will be delivered by a consortium of business organisations that include the Malta Business Bureau, Malta Enterprise, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, and the Malta Council for Science and Technology. The collaboration between the four partners will be shortly communicated to the media with the launch of this initiative in the coming days.
Through the EEN, the consortium will be offering a number of services to help local SMEs internationalise. First and foremost, through its counterparts in all other EU regions, EEN Malta will be able to source first hand information about market conditions and jurisdictions in other member states. This will save Maltese companies valuable time and resources in doing basic market research and also supersedes the language barriers.
Secondly, through the EEN, numerous brokerage events are organised annually in the EU to bring together businesses operating in different sectors. If a firm is interested to expand or find collaborators in a particular market, the consortium can use its contacts in that particular region to organise specialised visits for the firm to meet with potential business partners individually.
But perhaps the biggest and most exciting challenge for the consortium will be its proactive approach to encourage local enterprises to expand abroad. On this objective in particular, EEN Malta will be offering mentoring and specialised consultancy services to companies that have the potential to internationalise, but lack some elements in their structures to make the leap forward.
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