A European Business Network: Two Years of Success
    Category: Column By : Jochum Haakma Read : 826 Date : Monday, December 07, 2015 - 07:06:05

    The EU-Indonesian Business Network (EIBN) is celebrating its second anniversary. The EIBN is a EU co-funded project created to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from all 28 EU member states to enter the Indonesian market and simultaneously bring the message of Indonesia’s potential to Europe.

    There are approximately 23 million SMEs in the European Union and 57 million in Indonesia. However, matching them to explore partnerships and trade is a challenging task. Nonetheless, EIBN has put Indonesia’s economic success and business opportunities on the radar of many European SMEs. At least 70% of the companies we interact with from more than 17 countries in Europe have become interested in Indonesia being introduced to it by us. Some are already here with our support. On the other hand, Indonesian businesses we approached have also come to be increasingly aware of the added value that all of Europe can bring to this market. Our success stories can attest to that.

    The EIBN’s acquired purpose is to prepare the ground for a common European business bloc that can stand competitive in emerging markets such as Indonesia. However, in practice, “moving together” is never an easy process.  Indeed, EIBN’s first challenge was to justify how it could be useful to all. Its main mission:  to help companies from 28 different countries. Its key word:  complementarity.

    After two years, the EIBN has found its place. For economically stronger member states such as Germany, France and the UK, it has been a useful tool in complementing their longstanding delivery of business promotion and support in Indonesia. For countries with smaller representations such as Romania, Ireland, and Slovenia, the EIBN has been a relevant resource and many have endorsed its direct assistance to their SMEs.

    In Indonesia and ASEAN, the EIBN has established itself as a provider of a solid public service, acting as a free helpdesk and a valuable market knowledge resource for EU SMEs. Conversely, the EIBN has also built a trusted brand, having moved from being a small-budget European project to a credible business services provider backed by the most well-established European Chambers of Commerce in Indonesia.

    It is this mix of public service and accessible high-quality business support that makes EIBN a smart alternative to purely private business consultancies. In 2016, the Network stands ready to remain a valuable tool for the external action of the EU and to continue to serve EU SMEs as their Gateway to Indonesia