How EEN Singapore helps companies step up to the global stage
 The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is the largest business network in the world. Here’s how your company can get in on the action.

Honeybees sustain entire ecosystems by carrying pollen from one flowering plant to the next. In the same way, the cross-pollination of ideas can be viewed as the driving force behind a healthy, innovation-focused economy. For Singapore to remain competitive on the dynamic global stage, local companies must not only be open to fresh inflows of ideas, but also reach out beyond our shores to capture overseas markets.

To help companies innovate and internationalise, IPI Singapore, Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, banded together to establish the Enterprise Europe Network Singapore (EEN Singapore) consortium in April 2016. The tripartite alliance combines and exploits the unique strengths of each member organisation—both IE Singapore and the SMF facilitate the formation of business partnerships while IPI leads technology and research partnerships. The SMF also functions as the consortium’s secretariat overseeing outreach to businesses, trade associations and chambers.

As a gateway to 54 countries and 600 organisations across Europe and the world, with a combined pool of several million enterprises, EEN Singapore empowers SMEs to realise their full growth potential and make forays into foreign territories through Europe-Singapore partnerships. European Union SMEs can also gain access to the considerably-sized Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market of 600 million people.

A springboard to the EU

Among the ASEAN nations, Singapore is the European Union’s (EU) largest trading partner, accounting for approximately a quarter of EU-ASEAN trade. Around 10 percent of Singapore’s total trade is contributed by the EU, and in the year 2015, bilateral trade between Singapore and the EU amounted to S$91 billion dollars.

Clearly, opportunities abound, and EEN Singapore aims to grow this existing pie by helping more companies capitalise on this relationship with the EU. It does so by promoting strategic business and technology partnerships among EU and Singapore companies, as well as organising brokerage events to and from Europe.

For example, the Singapore Medical, Healthcare & Life Sciences Mission to Dusseldorf, Germany, saw Singapore-based clinicians, medical technologists and entrepreneurs establishing B2B meetings with their European counterparts at the renowned MEDICA trade fair, the world’s largest exhibition for the medical sector. More than 4,800 exhibitors from 40 countries were in attendance, thus delegates were able to build far-reaching networks in the domains of medical technology, information and communications technology and diagnostics, among others.

In addition to building networks, such missions also expose local companies to the current state-of-the-art in their respective industries. This way, novel perspectives can be brought back to Singapore to enrich the local innovation landscape.

Bringing the pieces together

Turning networks and perspectives into formal partnerships with actionable plans is the next critical step for any company eager to tap on the global innovation marketplace. However, given the numerous options available, being able to identify the right partner can be a daunting task.

Like a modern-day matchmaker, EEN Singapore conducts business and technology matching between Singapore and European SMEs. Local technology-industry brokerage events such as TechInnovation also allow face-to-face meetings between Singapore and EU business owners.

And just as Tinder gave dating a digital update, EEN Singapore publishes Singapore companies’ profiles on its online database so that interested parties from the EU can get in touch to discuss potential partnerships and vice versa. For enterprises that already have greater clarity in their business and innovation requirements, EEN Singapore can even match their proposals with opportunities posted in the Partnering Opportunity Database. Furthermore, a page dedicated to the latest TechOffers and Tech Requests from EEN was recently launched on IPI’s online marketplace to facilitate technology matching.

With all these platforms in place, EEN Singapore strives to give Singapore companies a boost, supporting them in their growth as they embrace and lead innovation through successful partnerships.