TEN’s objective is to develop crossborder trade between micro businesses, and also to address their needs by developing the business support infrastructure of the three partner areas and increasing the collaboration between them and universities.
The partners from regional and city councils, a chamber of commerce and regional development agencies have already established good working relations and wish to ensure the continued existence of this network of tailored business support on cross-border trade, which gives micro businesses previously untapped opportunities to expand their access to border regions.
The project will utilise the skills of the SMEs it supports in the UK, France and Flanders to deliver the project activities, which include business support workshops, intensive assistance and translation services.
What were the key results of the project?
- 400 businesses across the 3 partner areas have been questioned on the barriers to cross-border trade
- Business support programme developed in Kent and W Flanders offering over 120 events
- Creation of project website: www.tenproject.eu
- Launch of brand new microsite: www.crosschanneltrade.net
- An Incubator map also completed - to show the network of business centres across the partnership.
- There have been a number of trading projects between businesses in each of the partner areas, some of which are cross-border, others are local.
- 14 cross border study trips across the partner areas
- 60 businesses have benefitted from website development and/or translation and translation of marketing material.
- In West Flanders, 7 of the business centres now have tri-lingual websites
- Delivery in excess of 20 business centre improvements, including a TEN office in Canterbury and a small office area for 2 businesses at the Innovation Centre Medway.
Did all partners and territories benefit from the results?
The target groups are micro businesses in the partner areas. They have benefitted directly from the project services.
Beneficiaries: These include Rough Old Wife Cider, Triangle Factory and Kersh Media, Canterbury Curry Club, Kent Crisps, Fudge Kitchen and Cheesemakers of Canterbury all sold their products in Arras at Terroirs et Savoirs, making contacts with distributors and stockists and receiving advice on European markets from CCI International. Business support organisations in the partner areas have become aware of the project and its success and they have been prepared to offer support and training for local businesses.
Kent and Medway and West Flanders has benefited from the programme of business support available to small businesses. Other support organisations have been able to signpost businesses to the project and have been keen to promote TEN across the areas. In Kent, a peer group of TEN members has emerged and the relationships between businesses is sustainable. In Northern France, businesses have come to Kent to exhibit at business exhibitions and the Netday was partly funded by TEN. In West Flanders, businesses have had easier access to the incubators with the voucher system for business support and the subsidised rent for start-ups. Tenants and start ups in Kent and W Flanders will continue to benefit from the business centre improvements delivered through TEN, which have improved the facilities available at the centres.
What were the effects / outcomes for the territories involved?
In Kent, Medway and West Flanders, the project partners have been able to see the benefits of an EU project like TEN. It is clear that the funding and the contact with business support organisations across the Channel gives access to wider opportunities and that businesses are keen to pursue these opportunities with the support of the partners. In the Nord-Pas de Calais region, the benefits have not been considered so great. The time taken to compile reports and claims does not seem to be worth the funding that is drawn down from the EU. There seems to be a lack of support from Senior Management to provide a resource to manage the projects and for this reason, the staff members do not have the time to be as proactive as in other areas of the partnership. However, the relationship between the TEN project partners has been excellent and now that the contacts have been made, the network between us will always exist.