The second EUSAIR Forum: ‘EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region’, held in Ioannina and organised jointly by the Greek Ministry of Economy and Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Union, was concluded successfully on Friday May 12th 2017. As part of the event, Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas, for which the National Documentation Centre (EKT) is co-ordinator, organised 350 business meetings for approximately 240 organisations.
Over two days, more than 600 administrative representatives from the business and academic communities had the opportunity to discuss the progress of the next steps in the implementation of the Strategy, as well as other issues related to the Strategy’s four pillars: Blue Growth, Transport-Energy, Environmental Quality and Sustainable Tourism.
The 8 participating countries: Greece, Italy, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia were represented by Foreign and European Affairs Ministers and the Ministers for EU Funds. Greece was represented by the Deputy Minister of Economy and Development, Alexis Charitsis, and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Katrougalos. Also participating in the event were, among others, representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank , the Joint Research Centre (JRC), and the DG GROW and DG REGIO of the European Commission.
The business meetings, which were organised by Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas on 11th May and held in specially adapted meeting rooms at the hotel Du Lac, were a unique opportunity for Greek organisations to meet potential foreign partners, new clients / suppliers and discover new technologies. Those participating also had the chance to meet representatives of the European Commission, European Investment Bank, Business Angels, Ministries and other organisations.
At least 240 businesses, organisations and academic-research bodies from Greece and other participating European countries took part in 350 meetings covering the 4 pillars of the Macro-regional Strategy ( Blue Growth, Transport-Energy, Environmental Quality and Sustainable Tourism), and the Agri-food sector, which shows particular potential and openness.
According to the Ioannina Chamber, which, in co-operation with the National Documentation Centre, was regional co-organiser of the event, apart from being the largest event of its kind held in Ioannina, the forum was extremely well attended. These two facts alone highlight the continuing need that Greek SMEs have to broaden their search for opportunities both within the country and abroad. It was further evident from the meetings that there is great potential for synergies between businesses, regional-local authorities and academic-research bodies. The overall success of the event was due to a large extent to the support of experienced Enterprise Europe Network representatives.
The event was honoured by the attendance of European Commission senior executives, who showed great interest in the business meetings. Acknowledging the value of such meetings for both businesses and the regions, they committed to taking the experiences gained from the event into account when drawing up the next EU regional development policies.
The Enterprise Europe Network is currently the largest network supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in the world, significantly contributing to the promotion of the internationalisation of European SMEs. It covers over 60 countries and contributes to more than 2,500 international Co-operation Agreements annually.
Enterprise Europe Network – Hellas, a member of the Enterprise Europe Network, provides services for international business co-operation, updates on policies, services for innovation and technology transfer as well as services to encourage the participation of Greek SMEs in European Research and Technology programmes.