Steinbeis 2i GmbH remains an important member of the European Commission network
The world’s biggest network for internationalization and technology transfer is marking its tenth anniversary. When the European Commission set up the Enterprise Europe Network in 2008, its aim was to provide business advice to small and medium-sized companies. It already had a number of precursors, but none matched its sophisticated structure and the large number of regional, distributed points of contact. The network now comprises over 600 member organizations with around 6,000 experts in 60 countries, who mainly help SMEs with issues relating to EU funding and innovation consulting. S2i is also part of the network.
The organizations that work within the Enterprise Europe Network offer practical support, for example to enterprises looking for business partners in other member states of the European Union, or to enterprises introducing an innovative idea and hoping to apply for EU funding.
Between 2008 and 2018, no less than 2.6 million SMEs have been provided with advice in all areas of Europe, and over 230,000 SMEs have taken part in technology and partnership meetings, exchanging business concepts as part of 700,282 individual meetings. Overall, 9,000 SMEs have thus benefited from made-to-measure innovation initiatives. According to a survey conducted by the European Commission, 65% of SMEs who operate on an international level hope this will increase sales, 85% hope to create or be given more jobs, and 54% of SMEs anticipate gaining a larger share of international markets.
For SMEs in Baden-Wuerttemberg, the manual trades association Handwerk International provides comprehensive consulting services. Further partners in the network are Steinbeis 2i GmbH (S2i), the Baden-Wuerttemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing Baden-Württemberg, and six separate chambers of trade of industry. In September, members from Baden-Wuerttemberg took part in the SME conference organized by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin.