Final remarks from the Director – EU SME Centre Phase III closure

28 June 2022

Phase III of the EU SME Centre is coming to a close @30 June 2022.

But as we are lowering the curtains on Phase III, we are already warming up our engines for Phase IV of the EU SME Centre, which starts 1 July 2022.

During Summer 2020, while sketching the plans for the launch of Phase III we were all optimistic that COVID will soon recede, allowing us to return in 2021 to our normal lives. Instead, from the onset it became clear that COVID was here to stay, becoming the fil rouge which accompanied us till these days, forcing us to continuously adapt, adjust our targets, be nimble, re-aligning our priorities, re-designing how to run the project, setting different standards. Fortunately, we adapted, as the whole world did, so little by little the exception became the rule, the abnormality became the normality and words like Webinar, Online … everything! moved people into a different comfort-zone.

During these 21 months COVID was not the only challenge the European SMEs had to face. The geopolitical balance between China and the main western economies started to kick-in, bringing sanctions, adding restrictions, increasing costs, which made the Chinese environment become more and more complex.

However, challenges stimulate ingenuity and we moved traditional offline events to online or hybrid ones, opened up to more sophisticated technologies, connected with high quality professionals and developed road shows while still sitting in our respective offices.

Is this the future, even after COVID? I sure hope not!!! But some parts may stay, reshaping the way we conduct our businesses.

So yes, we lost opportunities to reach out in person to partners for trainings, conferences, fairs, networking; but running video conferences, online webinars & trainings, allowed us to reach out to a wider audience and to a larger number of countries.

Under difficult and turbulent times, the role of the EU SME Centre showed its true and even more important value, where we educate our EU partners and SMEs, explain the business environment and its changes, land a helping hand in understanding the market.

That’s why I firmly believe the EU SME Centre must remain a solid pillar in the European Commission’s strategy of helping European Small and Medium-sized Enterprises venture in the rather complex and ever challenging maze of the Chinese market.

As Director of this project, I have been honoured to work shoulder to shoulder with a tremendous Team of young professionals, under the guidance of the Consortium Partners and with the continuous support and assistance from EISMEA, our handling agency in Brussels, and the EU Delegation in China.

Thank you all and see you in Phase IV!

Renzo Isler

Director – EU SME Centre, Phase III

Sign up and benefit from our entire range of free services

If you sign up today you’ll be able to

  • Access to tailored advice through our Ask-the-Expert tool
  • A library of over 200 publications
  • Practical business tools
  • A network of trade promotion and business support partners
  • A comprehensive database of service providers with contact information

More from the Press Corner

Call for Speaker: Cross-Border Data Flow Regulations

Open Call| 29 March 2024

Call for Speaker: China's Textile Market for European SMEs

Open Call| 28 March 2024

Policy Meeting: A Two Sessions Roundup with Neil Thomas and Dan Wang

In Brief| 26 March 2024

EU SME Centre Interview with AWEX: Building Bridges for Belgian SMEs Exporting to China

Press Article| 21 March 2024

Call for Speaker: Cross-Border Data Flow Regulations

Open Call| 29 March 2024

Call for Speaker: China's Textile Market for European SMEs

Open Call| 28 March 2024

Policy Meeting: A Two Sessions Roundup with Neil Thomas and Dan Wang

In Brief| 26 March 2024

EU SME Centre Interview with AWEX: Building Bridges for Belgian SMEs Exporting to China

Press Article| 21 March 2024