Opportunities for the Internationalisation of SMEs

Client                           DG Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission
Implemented by        Panteia/ENSR
Year                              2009-2012

The study concerned the international business opportunities of EU SMEs in so-called third markets, i.e. markets outside the EU. The objective of the study is to discover which policy measures are most helpful in improving the access to non-EU markets for European SMEs. Important elements:

  • The study focussed on 12 countries, first tier: Brasilia, China, India, Japan, Ukraine, Russia, South Korea; and second tier: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Belarus.
  • Analysing the economic development in these 12 countries and especially the export and investment flow from the EU to these 12 markets in the period 2000-2010.
  • Identifying available business support measures as operated by the European Commission, governments of the Member States and other private or public organisations such as Chambers of Commerce and trade associations (more than 300 measures were identified).
  • Using large scale enterprise surveys across all 27 Member States a.o. the market potential was studied, i.e. the interest of European SMEs in third markets next to actual activities, their use of support instruments and the effect on their international business attributed to this support.
  • In the seven most important target countries Brasilia, China, India, Japan, Ukraine, Russia and South Korea local research was done among European organisations supporting European SMEs and other stakeholders and workshops held to discuss the overall situation.

The most important finding of the study was that the priority should not be adding more support measures at European level, but rather improve overall coordination and access to the already large number of existing business support measures.

For the report, see https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/access-to-markets/internationalisation/studies_en