2 Seas Trade
Start date: Mar 31, 2010,
End date: Dec 30, 2013
The 2ST project aims to help SMEs in the 2 Seas area to take the first steps to trading and doing business on a crossborder basis as a way to help them grow, following the recession. Helping small businesses to begin to look beyond their national boundaries, to undertake crossborder trade activities and develop international business collaborations will make a direct contribution to the development of the economy in the 2 Seas area.The project will focus firstly on establishing a crossborder trade network which will enable the project partners to work together to prepare a framework and series of activities and events for delivering direct crossborder trade support for SMEs. A series of trade support actions targeted at SMEs in the partner regions will then be delivered in order to enable the project partners to engage with businesses and support them in taking the first steps to understanding the benefits of international trade and then trading and doing business . Finally, there will be some capitalization on the networks developed (at the level of the partnership and SMEs) in order to encourage outside interest in the 2ST area as a single business destination and highlight the potential of inbound international trade with its businesses. Achievements: 2 Seas Trade was a three and a half year project, part-funded by the interreg iv a 2 Mers Seas Zeeën programme which aimed to encourage smes to do business in another partner region through providing practical support to companies from England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Many SMEs find that the crossing of borders is a challenging prospect. There are various barriers (both perceived and real) and there are a range of additional requirements when trading internationally as opposed to in familiar markets and contexts. The nine partner organisations involved in the 2 seas trade project worked together to provide a range of market entry support services to help companies do business in Kent, East and West Flanders and the South West of the Netherlands as well as in the Nord-Pas de Calais, France. The project responded to the needs of SMEs in the partner regions ‘earlystage’ support with regards to exporting.2 seas trade also ran a specific event in Kent in October (2013) on the health and social care supply sector to bring together businesses from england and the netherlands to explore the demographic, health and social care challenges in the partner regions and to meet each other with a view to developing collaborative business activities. the project found that SMEs could benefit from taking steps which included being proactive in seeking advice and information, performing research, looking for contacts and physically taking products and services to the target markets.Deliverables from the 2 seas trade project included: 39 business workshops in which over 500 businesses participated; creating a joint stand space for SMEs at 5 international trade fairs at which 44 companies exhibitedproducts; 15 sector-focused market visits involving more than 300 companies; 199 one-to-one support and advice meetings with smes and 4 ‘doing Business’ guides produced in 3 languages. 2 seas trade also produced an online guide to getting started in international trade and created a trade assessment tool (http://www.2seastrade.eu/ images/uploads/Kent_Export_ guide.pdf).
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