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European Commission Euro Office Services Project

Opening International Markets for Small Innovative Firms

As an unique initiative intending standardization of incubation services, facilitating internationalization of innovative SMEs, TREC-STEP partnered with CICOM, Sophia Antipolis along with a consortia of 20 other innovation centres and have initiated the European Commission FP6 supported project “Euroffice Services (EOS): Opening International Markets for Small Innovative Firms” in September, 2006.

The EurOffice Services project is to basically identify, select, test, exchange, support and promote a family of services aiming at assisting small start-ups to go global with incubators’ networking. These simple and pragmatic services consist in specific measures like the provision of office facilities, welcome and soft landing packages, training courses, coaching techniques, business accelerator methods and methodologies for marketing, sales and access to large customers, access to finance and facilities abroad for business internationalization.

Due to the persistent and collective initiatives of the consortium partners, now the EOS network has grown to 80 science parks, incubators and innovation centres from different locations in the European Union, China, India, the United States, and other countries, promoting dynamic inter-region networking opportunities, especially for innovative start- ups and SMEs.

The four comprehensive action points which guided this intercontinental project are as follows:

1 ) Identify and select existing good practices for opening international markets to innovative firms and integrate these good practices into professional services.

2 ) Validate and test these professional services with entrepreneurs via intermediary Euroffice Network members (incubators and science parks) who deliver these services to the end users, the entrepreneurs

3 ) Validate and test the transferability of the EurOffice Services to all qualified potential EurOffice Network members. Disseminate the EOS and the certification scheme to a large number of Euroffice Network (EON) members and to the major European innovation actors.

These broader initiatives had offered a set of comprehensive integrated services, all designed to provide effective solutions to internationalise businesses in many sectors ranging from nanotechnology, aeronautics to ICT, photonics and manufacturing. The services are classified into three integrated service domains, each aimed at different phases of a Small Innovative Firms’ globalisation process are:

Business Boosting

Business Boosting for improving the home-site before expanding outward; These are Services to boost company’s performances with the help of skilled human resources. The Mentoring services are to help entrepreneurs and business start- ups to obtain the advice, support and stimulation they need to confidently develop their business to local and international markets. This encompasses five services

1 ) Business Advisor
2 ) Training
3 ) A Mentor For You
4 ) Staff Boosting
5 ) Selling Across Borders

Networking, for finding the right people and contacts

Networking, for finding the right people and contacts These Services enable entrepreneurs to connect with investors, business angels, scientists, universities, clients and partners by organizing networking events and matchmaking opportunities under different formats and topics of interest. All of these events are focused on facilitating meetings between companies with potential synergies, facilitating a first contact that could open the door to new business opportunities.

1 ) International Matching
2 ) Euro Expo

Soft Landing, for the best start in the international world

These are Services addressing everything a company willing to internationalise needs for a "soft landing": Offices, support for participating in fairs (e.g. organisation of shared stand), support for accommodation, assistance in organising meetings and networking, information service on location.

1 ) EurOffice Essential
2 ) EurOffice Extended
3 ) Access Advisor
4 ) Visiting Services
5 ) Business Welcome Package

Under the EOS Project, several international matchmaking events were organized for SMEs such as at Edinberg, Sofia, Bulgaria, Torino, Italy and Sophia Antipolis, France. More than 3500 entrepreneurs have utilized the EOS services with the same standard of practices approved by the EOS consortium members across the globe and 1000 face-to-face meeting with the entrepreneurs were organized and still the numbers are growing.

The EOS project has organised a contest among its members to select the most active science park, incubator or business innovation centre that has achieved the best international success story for a small innovative firm. The best success story resulting from the usage of EOS Soft Landing and Business boosting services has been awarded to TREC-STEP, for promoting Pure Tech, a Venture by Mr Aravind, Trichy