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Brussels, 13 October 2010

Enterprise Europe Networks opens SME gateways to China and South Korea

The Enterprise Europe Network has opened 15 contact points in China and South Korea, giving European SMEs easier access to these attractive markets. This was announced at the third annual conference of the European Enterprise Network in Antwerp. European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani underlined that competition from companies outside the EU has become more intense as a result of the financial crisis. SMEs need open markets and fair competition in order to be competitive. Today, 25% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the EU export or have exported at some point during the last 3 years, a share which is expected to increase considerably. To support SMEs ready to do business abroad, the Network extends its reach to Asia, with additional contact points in China and more planned in Japan. With 589 partner organisations covering 47 countries including all 27 EU Member States, the Network acts as an innovative and unique channel to help SMEs to succeed.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship said: "European small businesses drive growth and create jobs. As markets become global, an increasing share of SMEs will turn their ideas and energy into exports outside their own countries or the EU. There are huge opportunities for SMEs in large trading partners like China and South Korea, and the Enterprise Europe Network can help smooth the way. We will bolster the process to promote SMEs with an update of the Small Business Act by the end of 2010 which will provide efficient support for entrepreneurs to launch their personal success story.”

There are now 10 partner organisations in China, in cities including Guangzhou, Xiamen and Hangzhou, and five in South Korea, including centres in Seoul and research hub Daejeon.

More than two million European companies have tapped into the Enterprise Europe Network since its launch early 2008 to grow their businesses as highlighted by the following example:

When a Swedish chocolate firm wanted to expand into China, it was brought quickly in contact via its home office in Borlänge with the Network's office in Wuhan, and together they found the right partner to distribute and promote its brand. Now the company is setting up a sales office in China.

Award winning SMEs

The conference also honoured four winning SMEs with a special ‘Network Stars’ award. These awards showcase inspiring stories of how the Network helps companies to achieve their goals. The winners are:

  • French electronics company Westline and Polish engineering firm Gryftec, who teamed up through the Network to reach new markets and find new business.

  • Belgian entrepreneur Serge Vleeschouwer and Germany company AirMed Plus, who struck a deal to market a anti-reflux baby bed in Germany, thanks to the Network.


The Network was launched in February 2008 by the European Commission and is a key part of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, which aims to encourage competitiveness in European businesses.

It offers practical support and advice to more than two million European small businesses, helping them to make the most of international opportunities and start exporting.

Spanning 47 countries, including EU Member States and candidate countries, the US, Russia, China, Mexico and South Korea, the Network is well placed to help SMEs trade outside national and EU borders. The services are delivered through 589 specialist business and techology organisations with 3,000 expert staff members.

The Network also provides information on EU legislation and funding, offers advice on how to develop an innovative idea and helps companies to increase their chances of success when applying for EU funding.

More information

Enterprise Europe Network

Network Stars winners and nominations

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