EuroTech Connect, a business development event in Cork to bring together tech firms from clusters in Spain, GB and Slovenia to facilitate trade/research links.
The Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) conducted an ecosystem mapping analysis as part of the www.be-wiser.eu. This analysis provided key contacts to cluster managers from 7 technology clusters (Cyprus, France, Germany, Ireland, Slovenia, Spain and the UK) and personnel from over 100 tech firms.
The objective of running the EuroTech Connect event was to showcase the benefits cluster organisations can bring to their constituent firms by facilitating cross cluster internationalisation and collaborative-research across Europe.
CIT developed a micro-site bewiserconnect.cit.ie which allowed companies from Slovenia, Spain and the UK the option of ‘Connecting’ with participating firms and RTD centres from Ireland. After analysing the connections requested - three Cluster Organisations, Eurecat (Spain), ICT TN (Slovenia) and Invest NI (UK) were selected to travel to Cork with two firms and a cluster manager as part of EuroTech Connect. CIT then followed up with the Irish organisations (members of the tech cluster www.itcork.ie) to organise face to face meetings for visiting firms during EuroTech Connect from the 24th to 26th of May 2016.
During the event the participants also had site visits organised to Dell/EMC, DePuy Synthesis, Janssen and Johnson Controls.
Total Cost - €25,600. Broken into staff organisation time – 42 days (€10,500), Travel & Accommodation (€9,800), Catering & Networking Events – 2x Lunch, 2x Evening Dinner + 2x Networking Events for 50 People (€4,500) and Local Transport (€800).
Evidence of success
• 27 connections were made at the face-to-face ‘Connect’ event between visiting SMEs and firms and Research Centres in Cork.
• 2 NDA’s have been signed between visiting and Cork based firms.
• 2 research centres in Cork are being supplied with IOT sensors from Spain.
• 1 visiting firm has had formal meetings with IDA Ireland re: opening an office in Cork.
• Visiting firms and cluster managers made connections with EMC, DePuy, Janssen and Johnson Controls at CEO level.
Advisers often suggest dovetailing with events running during a delegations visit to benefit from synergies. However, the goals of such events often do not align with the agenda of the programme. Developing targeted events with clear agendas and goals can lead to more success and outcomes.
Potential for learning or transfer
The real potential for learning this type of event and its transfer to other regions is summarised by David Marí Martinez, Cluster Manager at https://eurecat.org/en/ in Spain. “EuroTech Connect has been a very good example of what clusters should be doing in Europe right now - endeavouring to get companies together: fostering collaboration across regions and sharing knowledge and experience through real face to face interaction with clear institutional support. Companies grow through doing business and clusters supporting internationalisation through their collaborative connections will help not only their own region but partners regions to grow.”
To be successful, the organiser has to develop a comprehensive understanding of the visiting delegation in order to: (1) develop a programme which meets their needs, (2) source local firms who have an interest in collaboration and (3) assess the opportunity for cross-sectoral trade/innovation.
Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.