EU launches programme for SMEs seeking to enter Southeast Asia

EU launches programme for SMEs seeking to enter Southeast Asia

The new programme aims to strengthen the presence of European Union (EU) companies in regional key markets.

EU Business Avenues in Southeast Asia programme

SINGAPORE: A new programme to help small and medium-sized enterprises from Europe explore business opportunities in Southeast Asia was launched by the European Union (EU) on Wednesday (Jun 15).

Called the EU Business Avenues in South East Asia, this programme will focus on facilitating 20 targeted weeklong business missions for up to 1,000 European SMEs across a range of sectors in Southeast Asia over the next five years.

Sectors covered include construction and building technologies, environment and water technologies, and food and beverage.

EU Ambassador to Singapore Dr Michael Pulch said that this programme would help to strengthen the presence of EU companies in key markets in Southeast Asia by exploring business opportunities and identifying potential business partners.

The first business mission under the new programme will focus on Environment and Water Technologies. Selected companies from 15 member states will come to Singapore next month to showcase innovative solutions and leading technologies in this space, said Dr Pulch.

The programme follows the completion of a successful pilot programme in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in 2015. A similar programme was also launched in Japan and Korea, which saw more than 3,500 companies visit these two countries, resulting in what is said to be significant new business collaborations and revenue growth for both European and local partners.

Emphasising the importance of SMEs, Dr Pulch said SMEs represent 99 percent of all businesses and two-thirds of total employment in the EU. He added that the programme also aims to use Singapore as a hub to emerging markets in the region.

The first business mission under the new programme will focus on Environment and Water Technologies. Selected companies from 15 member states will come to Singapore next month to showcase innovative solutions and leading technologies in this space, said Dr Pulch.

The latest EU-Singapore Trade and Investment 2016 report shows that EU-Singapore trade in goods increased by 7.7 percent in 2015, while bilateral trade in services was up 15.4 percent.

The EU Business Avenues in Southeast Asia is one of latest efforts by the EU to help European SMEs internationalise, with another being the recently launched the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) Singapore Centre.

Source: CNA/ww

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