look east net
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Looking Eastwards

Challenges and Opportunities for Innovative Companies in EU Border Regions
2004 will be a year of great challenges for the European Union, in particular for the EU regions bordering the new Member States.
In order to support the EU border regions and to help them facing the ongoing changes, the European Commission has promoted a set of initiatives aimed at strengthening their competitiveness and smoothing their transition to changing socio-economic conditions.

Within this framework, INFORMEST - Euro Info Centre IT388 promotes the initiative "Looking Eastwards: Challenges and Opportunities for Innovative Companies in EU Border Regions (LOOK-EAST NET)", co-financed by the European Commission - DG Enlargement, in co-operation with partners from Austria, Greece, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain, Belgium, Italy.

The aim of the initiative LOOK-EAST NET is to promote the economic development of three EU border regions - Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy, Eastern Macedonia in Greece and Carinthia in Austria - in order to improve the competitiveness of EU border region SMEs and to develop their trade and industrial relations with the SMEs of the new Member States from Central-Eastern Europe and to foster cooperation relationships among SME development institutions. This objective will be realised through:
  • the development of the European dimension of the companies located in EU Border Regions and operating in pivotal innovative sectors, which produce a critical mass in terms of industrial production and need to expand in new markets;
  • the development of the industrial clusters located in the EU Border Regions, which themselves represent a higher critical mass from an organisational viewpoint, and their correlation with territorial cases of productive specialisation in the Candidate Countries;
  • the transfer of know-how and technologies to the SMEs of the Candidate Countries to support innovative strategies, productive processes and management methodologies.

The initiative LOOK-EAST NET is focused on the organisation of three partnership events in Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Italy), Eastern Macedonia (Greece) and Carinthia (Austria), which will involve more than 250 participants such as enterprises, sector associations and local development agencies.

Place Sector Period
Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Italy)
  • Advanced technologies for food industry, including biotechnologies
  • Mechanics, including electro-mechanics and construction technologies
  • Environmental management technologies
December 2003
Eastern Macedonia (Greece)
  • Tourism
  • Marble quarrying and processing
  • Textile
June 2004
Carinthia (Austria)
  • Mechanics and engineering
  • Micro-electronics
  • Software
November 2004

Each partnership event will be focused on three main sectors and it will include:
  • one plenary conference to analyse the EU enlargement process;
  • thematic workshops on in-depth issues per each sector;
  • planned bilateral meetings between enterprises and economic operators;
  • a permanent exhibition area dedicated to regional, national and international financing institutions and business organisations promoting their services for SME internationalisation and innovation.
Each partnership event will be introduced by an intensive and qualified promotional activity at transnational level, which will include the organisation of press conferences, the publication of promotional leaflets and catalogues, economic animation activities at local and international level.

The direct beneficiaries of the initiative are micro companies, crafts companies, small and medium enterprises, sector associations, specialised development agencies, institutional SME service providers, operating in the Countries covered by the project: Austria, Greece, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain, Belgium and Italy.
Each participant will benefit of:
  • Presence and visibility on INFORMEST portal dedicated to the project for two years;
  • Description of its activities and products in the Catalogue of the partnership events, which will be disseminated in Austria, Greece, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Spain, Italy and published on the Internet;
  • Planning and organisation of meetings with potential trade and/or industrial partners from the Countries covered by the project, operating in the same activity sector and appropriately selected before each event;
  • Participation at thematic workshops and seminars on in-depth issues per each sector;
  • Opportunity to meet representatives of national and international financing institutions, sector associations, development agencies, investment funds from the Countries covered by the project, in order to discuss upon project ideas and financing instruments;
  • Technical assistance to develop relations with trade partners and/or plan cooperation initiatives.
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