The Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, SMEs and Entrepreneurship, Mrs. Bienkowska, delivered the keynote speech at the midterm conference for EIS

The seven partner regions in the Everywhere International SMEs (EIS) will soon start to bear their learnings from the first two years of meetings and hard work into their regional and local programmes. The midterm conference marked this half-way point in the project – a time for looking forward and taking stock of the learnings in the project so far.

The conference was opened by the hosts in Gdansk, first with a speech by Mr Struk, Marshal of the Pomorskie Region, followed by Mr. Zelewski, President of Pomerania Development Agency and Partner in the EIS project. They highlighted Pomerania’s history of prosperity through international trade links and close relations to European partners with the sea as the main route for transportation of information and goods. They welcomed the continuation of close relations to other regions in Europe that a project such as EIS brings.

People at the centre

The place before the microphone was then passed on to Councillor Andrew Joy from Hampshire County Council, the lead partners of EIS. Councillor Joy underlined the necessity for an international outlook if SMEs are to thrive; and he stressed the value of working together in European partnerships to enable small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to internationalise. “This is about businesses, but more importantly, this is about people” Councillor Joy iterated, reminding the audience that businesses, especially SMEs, are very closely linked to people’s everyday life and livelihood.

The Keynote speaker of the day, the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, SMEs and Entrepreneurship, Mrs. Bienkowska, echoed Councillor Joy’s message: “The project is about people. The experiences gained outside of the more formal goals of the project, are often those of the highest value in such projects” – placing people as the crucial elements in a successful European Single Market where digitalisation and automation is attracting much focus, attention and money.

State of play for EIS

The conference continued, first, with a presentation of the project’s setup and evolution until present date.

Then with presentations of the Good Practices that have been identified (and which can be found here).

And lastly with a panel discussion on turning the learnings from the project into changes on the ground by implementing Action Plans in the following phase of EIS.