Under the theme ‘New Network, new realities, new impact’, the conference will bring together Network partners, representatives of EU institutions, and key external stakeholders to discuss how the Network’s business support services can best meet the evolving needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The conference will also feature interactive tools to facilitate the audience’s active participation as well as business matchmaking sessions on-site and via the event’s virtual platform.
The conference has three main objectives: exchange ideas on how the Network can contribute to the European industrial transition; share best practices to improve the quality and visibility of the Network’s services; and foster cooperation and synergies among Network members.
Reflecting these priorities, the conference sessions are structured around four main strands:
- Industrial transition. The sustainable and digital transitions are at the core of the European industrial transformation. Companies need to rethink their business models and operations to support resource and energy efficiency while using new technologies and data more effectively. The global impact of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have shown the vital importance of building resilience to cope with massive disruptions in the value chain. Sessions will explore how the Network can support this transition, including through its new sustainability advisors and digitalisation services.
- The Single Market and beyond. Reinforcing the Single Market is essential for strengthening EU’s preparedness to respond to external crises. Helping SMEs access third markets is a key part of the Network’s services, especially with the creation of International Network Partners to facilitate partnerships between European SMEs and companies in other countries. Sessions will look at how these services can continue to improve and support the EU’s Global Gateway strategy.
- Innovation. As new EU funding instruments such as Horizon Europe and the European Innovation Council become fully operational, the Network supports SMEs, start-ups, and scale-ups in their mission to make the most of their innovation potential – from circular economy to energy efficiency. Sessions will focus on how the Network can help SMEs capitalise on these opportunities more effectively.
- Quality. New internal tools, improved operation management, and strategic collaboration with other European networks such as the European Digital Innovation Hubs, European clusters, national, and regional stakeholders can boost the Network’s performance and impact. During these sessions, participants will exchange best practices, with a focus on effective communication and enhanced visibility.
High-level EU and national officials as well as representatives of the private sector are expected to join the opening session on 25 October, including the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Marian Piecha; the Deputy Director-General of DG GROW, Maive Rute; the EISMEA Director, Jean-David Malo; the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Gennadiy Chyzhykov; and Gabriela Takáčová, CEO of Recombee. The opening session will be webstreamed live and openly accessible to the public on our Network YouTube channel. Stay tuned and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates about the conference!