Business Planet looks at how one European business network is helping small and medium sized firms innovate and succeed overseas.
Expanding abroad can present many challenges for small and medium sized firms. Linguistic, legal, technical, cultural to name a few. Given such obstacles, it should come as no surprise that relatively few small businesses in Europe attempt to export their products or services beyond the EU, despite the fact that studies show international SMEs create more jobs and are more innovative than businesses that only sell in their own country.
Portuguese company Last2Ticket is attempting to change the event management industry. Founded in 2011, the Porto based firm’s unique software allows it to offer specialist e-ticketing and management tools for companies that organise big events, like festivals, exhibitions or concerts.
Offering a subscription service, one of the keys to Last2Ticket’s success has been its ability to customise solutions for clients, providing them with real-time data about their business.
The Douro River Taxi in Porto uses Last2Ticket’s software and services. The Business Planet team went quayside to have a look and take a boat trip.
Paul Hackett, Business Planet:“Emilia, tell me, what service did you provide?”
Emilia Catarina Simões:“They [Douro River Taxi] came to us looking for a portable real time solution, with real-time data, so at the time there wasn't anything available on the market, so we provided this for them.”
Recently selected by the Financial Times as one of Europe’s 1000 fastest-growing companies, Last2Ticket’s goal was always to go international. But while the company was established in Europe and Asia, when it came to entering the US market it needed help.
The benefits of an international network
The firm turned to the Enterprise Europe Network. Active in more than 60 countries worldwide it brings together some 3000 experts from more than 600 member organisations - all renowned for their excellence in Business support.
Cristina is one the network’s representatives. Business Planet met her at one of Porto's oldest exporters – Port Producer Taylor’s The Port house also uses Last2Ticket's software to organise tours of its famous wine cellars.
"They [Last2Ticket] needed help to understand if the product was prepared for the US market. So we guided them to the application of the ReadyToGo programme, where they received coaching and a free pass for participation for an IT conference in the US,” says Cristina Maria Barbosa, Enterprise Europe Network, Representative.
In addition to helping Last2Ticket innovate and improve their international strategy, the network also gave the company advice on how to protect their intellectual property rights.
The Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises. It seeks to help companies innovate and grow on an international scale.
What services do you provide?
“The Enterprise Europe Network provides local services to help companies go abroad, to internationalise their business and to innovate, so we target our advisory service around innovation support and internationalisation support.”
How do you help companies go global?
“We identify special activities that the Enterprise Europe Network promotes. Like company missions, events, brokerage events, also we identify in the partnership database what types of opportunities could help companies better promote their services or even to find partners that could help them.”
If I’m an entrepreneur and I’m interested in the Enterprise Europe Network, what do I need to do?
“We are more than 3000 advisory experts around the globe….you should grab your phone and call us. Our contacts are open and free directly on our website, in social media also. All types of business could benefit from our service. You as a young entrepreneur, or if you are a big company. If you need our guidance, to help you understand better and to prepare better your path to go abroad, please contact us.”
The Network in a nutshell
The Enterprise Europe Network helps ambitious small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) like Last2Ticket innovate and grow in the EU and beyond.
Thanks to help from the Enterprise Europe Network, the company enhanced their innovation, improved their internationalisation strategy and got advice on how to protect their intellectual property rights.
Offering a wide range of services, the Network seeks to help businesses find the right international partners to expand overseas; receive the advice they need to grow internationally; bring their innovative ideas to commercial success on international markets.