The Enterprise Europe Network has helped companies to raise 55 million euros in European research funding.
When Danish entrepreneur Poul Jessen was searching for a final partner to add to a consortium looking to measure contaminants in air systems, a connection between the Jutland and Trier Network members found the ideal company to add to his bid.
"Contaminants in air systems make people ill," says Poul Jessen, CEO of Danish firm Poul A. Jessen Systemteknik A/S in Sønderborg, Jutland, which heads the consortium. "We wanted to design a sensor that can detect problems within a few seconds, rather than over days in a lab." For this, he set up a consortium to apply for EU funding in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the precursor to Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), but was still lacking a partner familiar with sensors.
With some 600 member organisations, the Network has access to a unique combination of cross-border technology offers, requests and research partnership profiles. Jessen asked the Network partner Business Development Centre Herning & Ikast-Brande (EHIB) in Herning, Jutland, to help him find a partner. Kurt Langkjær published the profile on the Network's database, and was immediately contacted by Thomas Weinand of German partner Europa- und Innovationscentre Trier, based in Trier.
"I remembered a German company I had visited several years before that wanted to develop this very kind of sensor," says Weinand. He put the two companies in touch, and CMS Medizinische Anlagen und Systeme GmbH near the river Mosel, close to Trier, quickly joined the five-country team. "I'd been hoping for something like this since 2008" says the German company's CEO Christian Berndt.
Weinand points to the added value provided by the Network in this case:"It was the combination of brokerage activities and consultancy services provided to the clients on how to submit European funding projects to Brussels e.g. Horizon 2020."
Weinand adds, "Trier is located in the cross-border region Germany-Luxemburg-Belgium and France, the so-called 'Greater Region'. Thus, it is essential for our local clientele to have an entrance point for the various concrete consultancy services we offer. These include, among others, making European markets accessible by giving advice regarding country-specific business; public procurement advice; information about European funding; brokerage of business partners and research projects; as well as organising workshops and seminars."