Research partners brought together by the Enterprise Europe Network are developing an ICT platform for the forestry sector.
Scheller Systemtechnik GmbH is an SME in northeastern Germany that has developed ICT solutions for several industries from logistics to forestry.
It is leading an EU-funded project to develop the 'WoodApps' ICT platform linking all partners in the wood value chain, from forest owners to paper manufacturers, via smartphones and tablets.
For help finding foreign partners it turned to the Enterprise Europe Network, whose 3 000 experts in more than 50 countries have helped 3 000 SMEs apply for funding under the EU's FP7 programme, the precursor to Horizon 2020 (2014-2020).
Naturally not just any partner will do when trying to build the ideal team, as Martin Mueller, former Project Coordinator at Scheller Systemtechnik GmbH, explains: "We had a concrete idea about the project content as well as the added value of the transnational approach. The goal was not to find any kind of partner; it was rather a challenge to find an adequate partner who could provide the needed experience to bridge the knowledge gap within the consortium. Through the Enterprise Europe Network, we could identify a combination of two partners in Slovenia, the Slovenian Forestry Institute and the company DATAPAN, which fulfilled these requirements."
"Even the most agile companies don't always have the ideal partners on hand," says Jürgen Dührkop, a Network expert with the Technologiezentrum Warnemünde business park. "We solve this problem."
Shortly after Dührkop got the word out to colleagues, a lead came from Sebastjan Rosa of the University of Primorska, Science and Research Centre in Koper, Slovenia. This colleague had good contacts at the Slovenian Forestry Institute, whom he suggested for the project.
The Institute joined the consortium, which received €940 000 in EU funding to develop WoodApps. Wolfgang Grosskopf, Mueller's successor, is more than pleased with the crew he inherited as WoodApps Project Coordinator: "The Network helped us assemble the perfect consortium."
Apart from carrying out tailored partner searches, the Enterprise Europe Network partner Technologiezentrum Warnemünde E.V. provides a range of other services including, among others, assisting SMEs to take part in EU projects; brokering business partnerships and research projects as well as organising workshops and seminars. As Dührkop concludes, "The added value delivered by the Network is the density of available Network contacts, as well as the ability for businesses to research potential project partners quickly and easily in a broad range of countries and specific regions. In this particular case, the careful use of the Network's contacts in this time-sensitive partner search was the key to success."