How can I benefit from ISE?
The Innovative Sector Exchange (ISE) project offers SMEs in Kent, East Flanders, West Flanders, Hauts-de-France and the SW of the Netherlands a range of FREE support services to help you access new markets in Europe and apply innovation techniques in order to further develop as a business. The support to SMEs through ISE is available until April 2020.
If you’re interested in participating in the ISE project, contact us or download and fill in the Expression of Interest form on this page and return to us.
Hear from some of the companies which have been involved in ISE activities:
ISE Taster Sessions
The ISE taster sessions are a series of events to raise awareness of the project and explain its support offer. The taster sessions are open to all SMEs in the target sectors eligible for the project (agri-food, digital & creative, mechatronics and new materials) and provided the opportunity for companies to be introduced to the concepts of innovation and internationalisation.
Sector Focused Innovation Workshops
If you weren’t able to attend one of the ISE taster sessions, you can still attend our series of workshops. These events are facilitated by external experts from another European partner region and provide SMEs with the opportunity to learn more about how innovation can be applied with their own business in order to internationalise.
To keep up to date with all future workshops & events, please check our Events page.
1-2-1 Innovation Assessments
ISE partners Aditec & Innovatiehuis have created a diagnostic tool which will help to assess your innovation and internationalisation potential. The tool has been created specifically for the project and within a cross-border business context.
How does it work?
You will receive a 1-2-1 visit from one ISE expert (for example, in Kent the visits will be carried out by partner Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce) who will talk to you about your business, asking you a range of questions ranging from HR and finance to competitiveness and international collaborations in order to be able to establish your innovation and internationalisation readiness. The expert will then go away to score all the discussed aspects which will then enable us to formulate concrete recommendations on actions you can take to unlock your internationalisation potential by offering you access to cross-border and technical knowledge.
You can benefit from an innovation assessment now, regardless of whether you have attended an ISE taster session or workshop and will run until March 2019.
Innovation Pathway Events
Building on the taster sessions and workshops, SMEs will have the opportunity to take part in our series of ‘innovation pathway’ events. Eight 2-day sector-focused events will take place to bring together SMEs from different partner regions and enable them to jointly find innovative solutions to challenges faced within their own companies.
The innovation pathway events will be delivered between October 2017 and July 2019 and spaces will be limited.
See how some of our previous trips went with our videos below:
80 SMEs from across the partner regions will be invited to form 4 cross-border innovation clusters. Companies that have significant innovation & internationalisation potential can join the new cross border clusters along with representatives of Higher Education Institutions and other relevant organisations. The purpose of the clusters is to help facilitate collaboration and cross-border working between the participating SMEs to help with accessing new business opportunities in and beyond the 2 Seas area.
The selection process for companies to participate in the four clusters will be finalised by March 2018 and the aim is for them to continue and grow beyond the life of the ISE project.
Major Innovation Events
In the last stage of the project, the ISE partners will organise the participation of cluster member SMEs at major international innovation events in order to provide you with access to advice, case studies and expertise from leading global innovators. Attendance at these events can be used to open doors to new contacts, new markets and new business opportunities.
The support offered through the project is FREE of charge and is subject to de minimis state aid regulations.
To get an idea of what happens at these events, view the videos below created by Dodgems & Floss, one of the Kent-based companies which participated in our trip to CEBIT in June 2018: