Since 2017, InnovationQuarter is supporting more and more companies in scaling up their international activities. With its network deep in strong business clusters and close to entrepreneurs, InnovationQuarter fulfils an important role as advisor in realising ambitions to internationalise. "We know the needs of companies and advise them using our expertise. From our broad network at organisations such as RVO we can introduce companies to the right person with specialist expertise, or for example to a relevant network in the target country. In this way, we can link supply and demand. That, in short, is our main added value." Says Marijn Leijten, Senior Project Manager Internationalisation at InnovationQuarter.
Marijn: "In many ways it makes sense to focus on supporting companies in their internationalisation efforts. Companies that are active in multiple countries are more resilient, more innovative, more profitable and often better employers than companies that are only active in the Netherlands."
The Internationalisation team at InnovationQuarter consists of driven sector specialists who offer targeted internationalisation activities for companies within their sector. For each sector different aspects of the internationalisation process play a key role, and specific countries offer interesting market opportunities. Moreover, collective market entry under the brand 'the Netherlands' has great marketing value for the companies and is always done in a sector-specific context.
InnnovationQuarter and other public organisations offer a wide range of activities and services to companies to help them enter foreign markets. For example, international trade missions are organised, experts are available at embassies and trading posts abroad and subsidies are available to fund internationalisation activities.
But internationalisation is a complex process. In different phases, companies need different types of expertise and guidance, and they do not always have this insight themselves. Moreover, every company is unique, as are their products and services and all have different ambitions and opportunities.
International Market Entry Coaching (IMEC)
That is why the International Market Entry Coaching (IMEC) programme has been set up. This programme is an initiative of the Municipality of The Hague with funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. It is implemented by internationalisation experts from InnovationQuarter and The Hague Business Agency, in cooperation with various partner organisations.
Through the programme SMEs from the Hague region are supported through the entire internationalisation process. Participating companies are guided from the very beginning with strategy formation and are then linked at the right moment in their process to the right resources, support, activities, network partners, and so forth.
The IMEC programme offers extensive individual guidance and has a collective setting as well. In this way, each company receives tailor-made advice and at the same time benefits from mutual learning. The programme is not sector-specific, but available to the wider SME community.
"An advantage of IMEC's mixed approach is that there are no competitive sensitivities involved." Says Marijn. "As a result, participants share significantly more information with each other. Moreover, we see that it is precisely this cross-sector approach that is inspiring and that generates ideas that are not usual within the own sector, but that can have a lot of added value." He explains.
Read the original article (in Dutch) here.