Enterprise Europe Network, EEN
Name / Title
Enterprise Europe Network, EEN
Case Study Region
Övre Norrland, Sweden
The county of Norrbotten
European network working through local business organisations
Main activity / focus
Supporting local business development through internationalisation of SMEs.
Target beneficiaries / market
SMEs in Norrbotten
Current Funding source(s)
Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) is the main funding source in Sweden
In the county of Norrbotten Centek is the contact point for EEN. Centek is a business development company with the aim of acting as a bridge between academia and businesses, owned by the regional university LTU
The Enterprise Europe Network was launched in February 2008 by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry. It builds on the former Euro Info Centre (EIC) and Innovation Relay Centre (IRC) Networks, established in 1987 and 1995 respectively. It is co-financed through the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP, 2007-13), an EU funding programme designed to make European companies more competitive.
Member organisations include chambers of commerce and industry, technology centres, research institutes and development agencies. Centek, the member organisation in Norrbotten has supported businesses in the north of Sweden for more than 25 years and have a good knowledge on the businesses and activities of the region.
As members of the Enterprise Europe Network they are linked up through a database, sharing knowledge and sourcing technologies and business partners across the network countries.
Centek are in contact with businesses of almost all sectors, most of them are industries but some are also in the service sector. Very few are involved in farming.
To get in contact with businesses staff at Centek make visits to firms all over the Norrbotten. It is a comparatively rural county with a vast area and only one city of more than 25 000 inhabitants. The ambition of Centek is to work cover the entire county (nearly 100 000 km2). The work mainly with businesses located outside of the largest city, hence the distances from Centek to the firms and also between firms can be quite long. To be able to spread information about the possibilities of EEN and to get overviews of the situation among the businesses Centek makes sure to pay the firms visits. They usually go by car. In addition they organise seminars to meet with groups of firms and cooperate with the municipalities in the county to be able to take part in meetings arranged by them and make it possible for municipal business support offices to spread information about Centek and EEN.
Centek maps needs and strengths of the individual businesses and help them overcome weaknesses and initiate contacts with firms in other markets through the EEN database. The aim is both to find new customers and to develop techniques, products etc. If the firms are interested in more help Centek can support them by setting up business trips to meet with new contacts, and also take part in these. (these services the firms have to pay for)
EEN offices around Europe does also arrange match-making events and Centek can help businesses to take part.
A number of firms have established lasting contacts with actors in other markets. Mainly the firms who have been able to come to a business agreement seem to develop long lasting more extensive contacts. But even the firms who do not establish any contacts can gain from taking part in the initiative by searching in the European database; they might find the need to contact actors later on and in addition they get to know new markets better.