FORGING TIES BETWEEN KENT COMPANIES AND EUROPE

kent-science-parkKent Science Park (KSP) has helped make possible a series of collaborations between Kent and European businesses. As the Kent partner for CHAIN2 – an INTERREG project aimed at generating new business opportunities across the Channel – KSP has developed strong relationships with a number of organisations that support companies looking to trade internationally.

Through links with Kent International Business, Kent Science Park and the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) informed tenant AbBaltis of an opportunity to secure funding for MEDICA – the world’s largest medical trade fair held in Dusseldorf, Germany. AbBaltis are an in-vitro diagnostics business based on the Park, and have been offered a prominent stand at the exhibition free of charge, as well as the costs covered for one of their team to travel to Germany.

Giedre Brandao, Managing Director at AbBaltis, explained how pleased she was to receive the funding, “We visit MEDICA every year, as it is a fantastic opportunity for us to talk to potential customers and suppliers. By obtaining this funding we now have real estate from which we can utilise the exhibition in the best way possible. We can set appointments from the stand, which we wouldn’t have been able to do visiting MEDICA alone, and we will also be featured in the event catalogue.”

She added,  “I highly recommend going to tradeshows like these, as it allows you to see what the market is doing and what future trends may be. We have learnt so much by liaising with people at MEDICA, and have built our product portfolio to reflect this. This year is even better as the funding has allowed us to bring an extra team-member to promote the company.”

This assistance is not however limited to the tenants at Kent Science Park, but to other Kent companies as well. Last year, Kent Science Park and CHAIN2 facilitated a visit for Restoration and Protection Ltd – a material restoration and protective coating business from Maidstone – to the Seawork International Exhibition in Southampton. Here, they were introduced to the Enterprise Europe Network, who put them in touch with a number of European businesses with whom they could potentially collaborate.

John Ward, Sales Director at Restoration and Protection Limited, commented on what he sees as the benefits of going to the exhibition and in turn working with EEN, “Following our trip to Seawork last year we engaged further with Jeff Pedley and Valerie Pondaven of EEN. This has resulted in tremendous support being given to our business. Jeff, with his scientific background, has introduced us to not only the EEN networking system, but also to academics within the University world to assist with testing of our products. Valerie in turn facilitated seven one-to-one meetings for us at Ecobuild 2014, with companies from all over Europe interested in our business, including Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Latvia and Holland. She also recently arranged for a French business to send four key personnel over to us for two days to discuss ways by which we may gain mutual benefits in working together. Discussions with these various European businesses remain ongoing and are at differing levels of development.”

On the 14th May, Kent Science Park, in partnership with the Enterprise Europe Network, also hosted an event for innovative businesses seeking funding and support for research and growth. The main focus of this was Horizon 2020 – an EU research and innovation programme with €80 billion in funding to offer over the next seven years – and the free support available from EEN in obtaining this. Emphasis was also placed on EEN’s ability to help businesses forge connections with their overseas counterparts, which has also been an effective collaboration tool for both Restoration and Protection Ltd and AbBaltis.

Giedre Brandao explained the value of events like these, “I find seminars like the above incredibly useful and I try to go to as many as possible. By meeting EEN at Kent Science Park, I have made some fantastic contacts, which are helping to grow my business significantly. I encourage more businesses to take advantage of these events so that they too will be presented with the same opportunities.”

Richard Wheeler, Business Development Manager at Kent Science Park, concluded by adding, “A key aspiration of Kent Science Park is to help both our tenants and businesses in the wider community to achieve growth. This ensures Kent’s continuing development as a hub for enterprise and innovation. Being involved in projects like CHAIN2 allows us to host and attend exclusive events that inform businesses of the opportunities available to them at home and overseas. Our involvement in the project also means we are better placed to advise businesses on these opportunities or refer them to organisations like EEN, where they can obtain that information in more detail.”

For further information on the Enterprise Europe Network and its services, please visit: www.enterprise-europe.net. For more information on the CHAIN2 project, please visit: www.kentsciencepark.com/businesssupport/CHAIN2.aspx.

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