Business Planet takes you to Greece this week to discuss international development with Georgia Tzenou from the European network, Enterprise Europe Network.
The EEN helps innovative
SMEs make it to the big league and export their goods. But what exactly does it offer to companies?
“We provide tailored services to SMEs, including start-ups, on how to access funding, how to reach new markets, business innovation and technology transfer,” says Tzenou.
One example here in Athens is a start-up that helps small shop owners save time and money.
In just six years, an app developped by Fanis Koutouvelis has become Greek retailers’ vital ally. Installed on an iPad, it works alongside a barcode scanner. Stocks are updated whenever a transaction is made.
“The software handles everything : ultra-fast transactions, inventory and procurement automation, real time analytics. Through it we digitize the convenience retail market helping all the supply chain stake holders make better decisions based on actionable data,” says the CEO of Intale, Fanis Koutouvelis.
With more than 800 subscribing customers in Greece, the level of success is encouraging Fanis to think bigger. To export his innovation, he turned to the local branch of the European network Enterprise Europe Network.
“The network helped us get European funding dedicated to the most innovative companies in Europe. The outcome is scalable cloud software that is applicable to many international markets”, says Koutouvelis.
The company’s staff has grown from 6 employees in 2010 to 28 today and Fanis is negotiating with several countries to export its product. The potential is huge as the global convenience retail market is worth more than 2 trillion dollars.
Business Planet asked the EEN how it could help Fanis tap into the global potential of his product.
“We have colleagues in more than 60 countries that know their local market and the international business environment,” said Tzanou. “So through trade events and online matching, in Greece we have approximately 100 international agreements per year.”
According to Eurofound’s latest annual report, young innovative SMEs with high international potential are the biggest recruiters in the European Union. Making their development as easy as possible is therefore of great importance.
Which criteria must SMEs meet in order to be eligible for the network’s help?
“We target ambitious companies irrespective of size, sector or development stage,” says Tzanou. “So actually, together with the company, we assess their potential and then we intervene at the right moment with cost-effective solutions to facilitate their growth.”
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