Encouraging SMEs To Go Across Borders: the EU Project to Mobilise SMEs

European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME, as the lead partner of the EU project MobiliseSME, has organised on the 26th September 2017, together with SME Connect and SME Europe, an event at the European Parliament to discuss the opportunities that European-funded projects provide to small and medium-sized companies in the EU to go cross-border. EU projects can help companies to find new business abroad as well as to became acquainted with potential partners that can help develop innovative products and services. It is also a great way to enrich the skill sets of their employees, who can learn something new from the colleagues of companies in other countries.

The event included an illustrious line-up of speakers.The opening remarks were provided by MEP Iuliu Winkler, First Vice-President of SME EUROPE, Co-Author of SME EUROPE’s Resolution on “Innovative Entrepreneurs” and Vice-Chair of the International Trade Committee. Mr Winkler argued that entrepreneurs want a more complete Single Market and that projects can play a huge role in this sense, like like MobiliseSME has shown.

Following the opening remarks, the Managing Director of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME Mr Stefan Moritz gave his keynote speech explaining the nature of MobiliseSME and how it worked on a win-win-win condition, benefiting hosting and sending entrepreneurs as well as visiting employee. Furthermore, Mr Moritz presented the results of the project and how participants found it provided a huge add-value, helping them expand their business abroad and provide training to their staff.

The second keynote speech was provided by Mr Martin Pilser, Member of the Directorate-General for Trade of the European Commission, who focused on the EU’s trade policy and its scope. He stated that the internationalisation of SMEs would bring further innovation to the European market and that the Commission and Directorate-General for Trade work on new flexible approaches and also on a huge information platform for SMEs, like the EU Export Helpdesks, that would offer attractive databases for entrepreneurs.

The following intervention by MEP Arne Gericke, Member of the Committee on EMPL with a strong expertise on SMEs, argued that more organisations can support SMEs and that MobiliseSME showed the way but we now need to move beyond a test project.

Mr Patrick Gibbels, Secretary General of ESBA Europe, remarked that mobility is a very important factor if you want your business to go cross border, and that the main topic entrepreneurs must learn to manage is digitalization. he suggested that the EU projects like MobiliseSME can help companies develop the skills sets needed to understand these factors.

The closing remarks were given by MEP Bendt Bendtsen, President of SME EUROPE and Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. He closed the discussion by pointing out that 85% of all new jobs are created by SMEs. Mr. Bendtsen maintained that SMEs and their prosperity and growth are the best course of action to guarantee growth in our economy.

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