The dissemination of information as a strategic key factor for the competitiveness of SMEs is the main service provided by the EEN in its work and is divided into three levels:
It disseminates information about Europe and gives advice to companies on the functioning and opportunities of the internal market for goods and services, including the possibilities of participating in tenders, public procurement and business opportunities.
It proactively promotes initiatives, policies and programmes of interest to SMEs and advises them on the procedures for participation in these programmes via alerting services.
It studies the problems caused by the impact of the current European legislation on SMEs by using measurement tools when carrying out their business activities.
It encourages and facilitates the participation of Basque businesses in the European policy-making process, thus giving SMEs the option to present their views and proposals.
2.1 European information for SMEs
One of the main goals of the Basque-EEN is to provide European institutional information affecting Basque companies in the development of their business. The network guarantees access to information and equal opportunities in programmes and Community actions for companies, in matters of reference for their performance such as legislation, public tenders, sectorial information, funding mechanisms, or active performance programmes, among which are those for the promotion of technology and innovation through R&D&I.
It aims to contribute in a decisive way towards encouraging and promoting adaptation necessary for strengthening the process of modernisation and internationalisation of companies.
The wide variety of European areas and programmes that can be used by companies and the quick and continuous changes that occur in the Community mean that it is wise to have different channels available, with up-to-date, timely information:
• Personalized information service. Information on European programmes and EU regulations.
• Europe is listening. In addition to providing convenient assistance and advice to businesses, the European network helps SMEs to channel the comments, views and observations of its managers to those responsible for making decisions in Brussels, so that they are taken into account in discussions on future policy initiatives.
• European Portal for SMEs. It provides all the related information generated by the EU which has a direct reference to SMEs, such as funding, development of Community policies that affect them, or the rules of the internal market.
2.2 Partner search service
The participation of European companies in EU programmes enables them to hear about other similar experiences at the same time as generating synergies with their new project partners, which is a source of opportunities for their development, promotes competitiveness and allows companies to adapt to the evolving economic circumstances.
However, the transnational requirement for European projects and programmes requires the search, selection and finally involvement of partners from different countries, which can sometimes be complex and mean that finally it is not carried out.
The partner search service, as well as facilitating an active search for partners by providing companies with a network present in over 40 countries, provides access to the selection of a process record of successfully finding partners, made by companies and organizations from other EU states. These are experiences that can extend references for businesses when selecting a project for participation and without this knowledge they would never have presented for it.
2.3 Business cooperation
Business cooperation is crucial in the development of company strategy. Through cooperation, whether commercial, financial, logistical, technological, production or administrative, the company, especially SMEs, aims as a final objective to increase business profits by sharing and optimising resources when carrying out a project.
The Basque-Enterprise Europe Network drives partnerships or cooperation between European companies in order to enhance their development and competitiveness, thus ensuring continuity in the market.
To this end, the network has a supply-demand service for cooperation activities for Basque companies, as well as defining new cooperation profiles, to be disseminated through the available channels.
• Offers and bids for cooperation
• Creating new cooperation profile
2.4. CE Marking
CE marking compliance by businesses is a key requirement for the marketing of a product so that it has free movement within the European market and can be distributed to all member countries of the European Union under the compliance of European law.
With the CE marking of a product, the manufacturer assures, under his sole responsibility, compliance with all legal requirements for access to this quality standard, ensuring its distribution and sale throughout the European Economic Area.
CE marking of a product does not indicate that it has been manufactured in the EEA, but that the product has been assessed before being placed on the market and meets the legal requirements for marketing.
The CE mark is an issue to consider, not only for manufacturers but also for importers and distributors.
2.5 Business opportunities in Europe
Access to European Public Procurement
Public contracts arise due to the purchase of goods and services and public procurement by public bodies, such as the central administration, local authorities or their subordinate agencies.
Public procurement is a key sector in the European economy as it represents a large part of EU GDP (16%). Indeed, the opening of public procurement has led to increased competition between companies in the European Union, reducing prices and guaranteeing better quality of services provided to citizens.
Modernisation and the opening of borders in public procurement is crucial for European competitiveness and for creating new business opportunities. Therefore, over the years, the EU has established legislation to modernise and facilitate access to processes for the awarding of public contracts. One of the most widely used tools in electronic procurement is the TED database, Tenders Electronic Daily.
Any company interested in participating in public procurement processes can consult the guide "Doing business with the European Commission", where they will find the information necessary to present themselves as potential contractors.
TED, Tenders Electronic Daily, is the electronic version of the 'Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union', dedicated to European public procurement.
The network provides information on the operation of this tool and facilitates access for new users for registration and interaction with the application: login, conducting searches, alerts, RSS feeds and more.
It helps European SMEs with the development of cross-border commercial and financial activities, international networking and making new deployments in other European countries.
It supports SMEs in finding partners, both the public sector and the private, using specialized tools.