The Pomeranian Export Broker aims at creating a comprehensive support system for an international expansion of Polish enterprises. The project is implemented by the Free Entrepreneurship Association (INSME Member from Poland) among many other partners and is developed under the Regional Operational Programme for Pomorskie Voivodeship 2014 – 2020.
In particular Pomeranian Export Broker is one of the six strategic projects to be implemented under the Regional Strategic Programme named “Pomeranian Creativity Port” of the ROP of PR 2014-2020 whose main aim is to increase the efficiency of companies and improvement of competitiveness of higher education.
The Pomeranian Export Broker will be developed through three main branches of activities:
- Introduction to export, by identifying potential exporters in the region and prepare SMEs to export through educational and consulting activities.
- Development of the export of Pomeranian companies on chosen markets, by promoting the region and facilitating foreign contracts, participating to trade fairs and organizing economic missions etc.
- Grants for SMEs by financially supporting companies willing to participate to international trade fairs, exhibitions and economic missions etc.
1) Pomeranian Development Agency (Leading Partner)
2) Pomeranian Regional Chamber of Commerce
3) Free Entrepreneurship Association (INSME Member)
4) Gdansk Business Incubator STARTER
6) Pomeranian Science and Technology Park
July 2016 – June 2023
1) European Funds – Regional Programme
2) Office of the Marshal of the Pomorskie Voivodeship
3) European Regional Development Fund
The total project budget is PLN 84.04 million (ca. 19.900.000,00 EUR)
Project subsidizing is PLN 64.08 million (ca. 15.000.000.00 EUR)
Micro – small and medium entrepreneurs that are directed towards beginning export activity, export growth and acquiring new markets.
1) increase the number of Pomeranian SMEs active in foreign markets;
2) diversify the export markets of Pomeranian companies;
3) increase the participation of Pomeranian companies in national export;
4) strengthen the brand of Pomeranian (Polish) companies.
To achieve these objectives the initiative works on three different fronts:
1) Identification of companies in the region that: a) would like to export but do not have yet the skills to start b) are already exporting but would like to enter new markets; c) have the potential to export but have been inactive in foreign markets. The identification will serve as a basis to develop a database of these companies and their market potential, products and services as well as work with them to prepare to export.
2) Development of the export of Pomeranian companies on chosen markets through the implementation of a process for the systematic exchange of knowledge and networking including meetings, seminars and conferences, training courses, trade fairs and missions in order to acquire new knowledge, solidify the competences of companies and establish contacts with relevant business partners.
3) Support to the export activities through grants available to MSMEs with head office in the Pomeranian Voivodeship or business institutions that represent SMEs, with a special attention to selecting projects that adhere to accomplishing the objectives of agreements for smart specializations of the region (e.g. off-shore, port and logistics technologies; interactive technologies in information-rich environment; technologies eco-efficient in the production, transmission, distribution and consumption of energy and fuels in construction; medical technologies within the field of lifestyle diseases and the ageing period).
So far, as for September 2018, almost 800 Polish companies received support in internationalization of their businesses, ranging from increased export competencies as the result of numerous export-related seminars and conferences, through companies exhibiting individually at selected fairs and trade events all over the world thanks to financial support in the project, to participation in business missions and brokerage events which resulted in B2B meetings all over Europe and in China, Israel, USA, Canada, Japan.
Expected results include 1300 supported SMEs participating in seminars, conferences, trade fairs and business missions, 475 international cooperation events promoting Pomorskie and its entrepreneurs, 102 SMEs receiving financial support for individual internationalization-related activities abroad.
Among the key challenges in implementing this initiative, it is worth mentioning the ineligibility of advisory and consulting services in the project. Such services are not available for clients, although they often express interest in this kind of support. So far the catalogue tools available in the project has not been modified. Synergies have been identified, however, so that clients in need of advice related to export promotion are directed to other bodies offering similar support, like the Enterprise Europe Network hosts.
Two years of implementing this initiative showed that to achieve better results the partners should focus on a few markets at a time instead of supporting all possible targets simultaneously. Consequently, the partners decided to choose 5 strategic directions per year and concentrate their efforts to maximize the results.
The initiative will contribute to the development of the SME sector in the region due to expected export growth and its consequences (increase in employment levels, profitability, innovativeness and competitiveness of companies).
It should also contribute to the growth and competitiveness of the whole region as its international ties will increase. The image of the region and its companies should also be affected positively.
The partners hope to initiate and strengthen an upward trend in globalization of the region’s companies.
As other Polish regions do not follow this model, positive results may increase its potential for replicability and enhance similar actions elsewhere.