Enterprise Europe Network

Reading between the lines

Tailor-made software solutions to help pioneer applications for the visually impaired.

Braille

The Hungarian-led project, called TACMON1, developed innovative, cost-effective technology to help blind and partially sighted people 'read' Braille text and graphics by touching raised pins on an interactive touchpad attached to a computer.  

Arthaus learned of the opportunity through the Network branch in Skopje, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. With 3,000 experts on the ground in more than 50 countries, the Network is uniquely placed to help SMEs tap into funding opportunities that lead them in exciting new directions.

"We spent eight months coaching Arthaus, but the hard work was worth it," says Mile Sosevksi, Network business and technology adviser at the Foundation for Management and Industrial Research in Skopje. He regularly provides the client with information on EU-funded research opportunities, invites it to workshops on access to finance, helps with tailored partner searches in the Network's powerful database and advice on finding research consortia seeking partners.

He alerted Arthaus to an urgent request from a Budapest-based research organisation, which is now called Atkeknea Solutions Hungary LLC, a long-time Network client of the Hungarian Investment and Trade Agency in Budapest.

"The project had already started, but one more SME expert was needed," explains Eszter Anna Szabó, senior Network advisor at HITA. She advises Ateknea on EU funding opportunities, drafts research partner requests for the Network's database and alerts it to the most promising responses.

Arthaus joined the TACMON1 consortium, winning €86,000 in funding to lend its know-how to the project, whose long-term aim was to help the visually impaired find jobs and boost SMEs' competitiveness in the special-needs sector.

"Thanks to the Enterprise Europe Network, we are expanding into exciting new areas of technology," says Arthaus manager Borjanka Nikolova. Since wrapping up the TACMON project in 2011 the companies have continued their collaboration on two further EU-funded projects including TACMON2, where they are working on a cheaper version of the tablet that can be mass-marketed. They also remain loyal clients of the Network.