|01/01/2009 - ICT Cluster European initiatives|
The year ahead is already predicted to be a tough year for all companies including those in the technology sector. The West Midlands ICT Cluster is currently working to pinpoint how the current economic climate is affecting technology SMEs in our region and will be passing this information onto supporting organisations, such as UK Trade and Investment, Chambers of Commerce and Business Link. This intelligence will go some way to ensuring that benefits flowing from the organisations are more targeted.
Through this information and our plans for 2009, I believe that despite the economic turndown, there are plenty of opportunities for Midlands technology companies.
I believe that successful companies in 2009 will be innovative, have a sound strategy to keep their existing clients and be looking for new markets.
A major opportunity, in my opinion, is going to be in Europe. Helping West Midlands companies to find business and to collaborate with European companies, educational institutions and government is a key strategy for the West Midlands ICT Cluster in 2009.
Crucial to any European success is a good understanding of the European market. Initial target countries include Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux and France. We will be bringing experts over from Europe to provide insight, local market knowledge and advice. We will also be working with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to gain market intelligence and identify specific areas of opportunity such as potential market size, competitors, partners and educational institutions to work with.
We will be encouraging companies that are already working in Europe to provide best practice case studies and consider entering new overseas markets and we will be supporting companies that want to target EU member states. We recognise that a lot of companies may have difficulty in accessing EU services due to time and financial constraints. That’s why we will be working with organisations such as EU Connects, the new EU-funded regional resource for the West Midlands who offer advice and support to assist organisations in applying for European funding to deliver trans-national projects.
Finally, the Leonardo da Vinci initiative is one that I particularly support. It offers employees a chance to visit another EU country to gain training and skills. This is an attractive employee benefit and through the initiative other EU executives can work in the UK and share their knowledge with companies wanting to target Europe.
Mike Musson, ICT Cluster Manager, West Midlands ICT Cluster