A talk with Eniko Schmidt about CCI sector

  1. Can you introduce yourself highlighting your connection with CCI sector and your role in EEN?

My name is Enikő Schmidt, and I am working for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pécs-Baranya – south of Hungary – as Head of the Trade development Department from 2006. We are hosting the Enterprise Europe Network office of South-Transdanubia as well, where we provide special partnering and advisory services for companies willing to enter foreign markets, or find international partners in the safest and cost effective way. We try to reduce their risks with information, skills development, IPR advice, detailed explanation of the free IT tools provided by the network.

Based on the composition of the local entrepreneurs and potential economic development possibilities, we realized that there is huge, untapped potential in the Sme’s of the creative sector, and we have to make them visible for each other, and for foreign partners as well.

I personally worked in this field for many ways – window decoration, Tiffany glass works, classical ballet, organisation of cultural events, local sub-projects for Pécs European Capital of Culture 2010, organization of Hair&Beauty Professional Competition and Fair – and I worked with a lot of companies previously from this field. As I know personally these artists and service providers, it was self-evident for me to join this group of advisors of the Network right at the beginning in 2011. We have all kind of IT tools to help these entrepreneurs, but the personal connection is still the best way to connect people and companies. I think this is our most powerful tool so far, and the Creative Industry Sector Group of the Enterprise Europe Network has a proven track record of success for its clients across the globe.

  1. Can you introduce EEN mission and particularly that of the sector group on CCI?

The Enterprise Europe Network helps businesses innovate and grow on an international scale. It is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with international ambitions.

The Network is active in more than 60 countries worldwide. It brings together 3,000 experts from more than 600 member organisations – all renowned for their excellence in business support.

Member organisations include:

  • technology poles
  • innovation support organisations
  • universities and research institutes
  • regional development organisations
  • chambers of commerce and industry

Teams of Network experts in each member organisation offer personalised services to businesses. They know the local business environment and have contacts for business opportunities worldwide. The Network can also offer a targeted approach aimed specifically at your business sector. Its expert groups cover all key economic sectors, from healthcare to agrofood, from intelligent energy to fashion and textile.

Experts in 17 key sectors from all across the Enterprise Europe Network have teamed up to provide companies with customised support. The Network’s Sector Groups combine international business expertise with local knowledge. We can help your business grow through tailored support and new partnerships. We can also advise you on how to find partners to apply for EU-funded joint research or other projects.

The thematic focus of Creative Industry Sector Group:

  • Film
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Music
  • Art
  • Crafts
  • Gaming
  • Publishing
  • Digital media
  • Fashion
  • Performing arts
  • Advertising
  • Photography
  • Design
  • Digital animation
  1. Why do you think internationalization is important for CCI?

In our everyday work, we see the lack of information and untapped partnering connections of these companies, and even though the European Creative Industries generate almost € 560 billion to the total GDP, which translates to 4.5% total of the GDP in 2008 for the 27 EU member states. The industry is also responsible for 8.5 million jobs in the EU.

We experience that with the smallest help, information, co-organized B2B event how much we boost their businesses. The biggest step of course is to enter foreign markets, but that generates the most results as well. That has a very high risk and usually needs a lot of investment – money, time, energy – but it will be a „dimension jump”, we can imagine the above mentioned numbers and results to grow exponentially. It is really worth it to help them.

Thanks to our team of experts, the Europe Network Sector Group for Creative Industries is committed to:

  • Forming a Europe – wide network of Creative Industry SMEs and specialists to share knowledge, ideas, innovation and inspiration;
  • Bringing together Creative companies from across all disciplines to enhance opportunities and commercial partnerships;
  • Advising and informing companies of the latest EU legislation, policies and programmes related to creative industries
  1. What should be the role of intermediaries in promoting internationalization opportunities for the CCI sector?

The main task of an intermediary institution is to interconnect companies, projects, institutions, all actors of the area, and to create synergies among them. Through selected joint activities the Sector Group supports SMEs, Research centers and Universities in:

  • Finding partners for joint European research and Commercial projects;
  • Sourcing new and innovative technologies, licensing and joint venture;
  • Exploring and selecting new markets;
  • Expressing opinions on European policies with respect to all apsects of creative design and other related industries;
  • Showcasing European creative talent by creating transnational networks of creative industry experts and organizations

All intermediaries has their own networks, databases, IT tools, a lots of knowledge accumulated over the years, and the most important: personal connections. We have to use all these already existing tools to help our clients, and according their changing needs to create new connections, to invent new methods, to follow and continuously support these processes in our creative way.

  1. What do you think of ICCI project?

It is a great idea to educate together all these experts, those trainings will surely have a great added value for the participants and a completely different view on how to continue further. We are at the beginning of the project and of the co-operation as well, but I expect a lot of knew knowledge, new connections, better understanding of each-others client’s and market’s needs.

At the last meeting of our CI Sector Group in Copenhagen we realized that are so many new EU funded creative industry related parallel projects, that as a new task of the CISG, we have to create some kind of synergy between them. The ICCI project will establish a strong “bridge” between these projects by creating a common/shared knowledge of the participants of the different projects. This way it will help all of them, all of us.

  1. What are the elements of a successful internationalization campaign for a CCI operator?

As the first aim is to give visibility for CCI companies at international level, the best solution is to communicate through a “network of networks”. That is exactly what we are creating now by the ICCI and other project co-operations.

Second task is to create the possibility to meet each other. In the case of our relatively small sized or even micro companies is unimaginable at the beginning, but by using our – free of charge – tools, it becomes a reality in a very fast and easy way.

The co-organised brokerage events are excellent opportunities for our clients to find new business partners, because we have quiet new, young, enthusiastic but unexperienced companies. They have to learn a lot about the business part of their activity, and it is very useful to learn techniques and real life experiences from similar companies through the partners.

And finally, for me the success of my work is, when after learning, teaching, communicating, connecting and doing all these, a company can work and progress on itself.