The EU-African SME Summit 2019 was divided into two important moments:
– First, on the 20th March and 21st Morning, the Shared Value Business Lab to generate creative business ideas addressing development challenges.
– Second, the EU-African SME Conference on the 21st March afternoon.
The whole Summit had the following objectives:
- To highlight the importance of SMEs in the economic development of Africa and underline the role of European SMEs in this process.
Small and medium-sized companies can contribute massively to the economic development of African countries. They are deeply rooted in the territory and can help provide immediate hands-on solutions to many problems faced by the local population.
European SMEs are already the backbone of the EU’s economy and can help Africa to flourish and develop. A strong investment in the local territory, while working hand-in-hand with local companies, would be mutually beneficial, furthering boosting development.
- To tighten the relationship between SMEs from Africa and Europe, laying down the foundations of a highly-needed intercontinental SME network.
The summit wants to be the starting point of a deeper engagement between and among SMEs in the two continents. It aims to pave the way for further and stronger collaboration, with the further goal to set a network, spamming across Europe and Africa, of companies working together for an intercontinental permanent collaboration.
- To call the European Commission for action to offer tailormade tools and solutions for SMEs to support their business approach towards and investments in Africa, like g. an “SME-Instrument for Economic Cooperation with Africa”, but also hands-on and practical support for intercontinental business networking.
The start of an intercontinental collaboration between needs to be supported to overcome obstacles that European SMEs would face when starting their collaboration – setting up the business, developing contacts, finding local providers, building the client base, etc… – the period that it takes to do so is usually referred as the “valley of death” as it is the time when companies are at the highest risk of failing.
The European Commission can help the m overcome such risk by providing practical solution that would help making the first years of activity sustainable. We envision that an “SME-Instrument for Economic Cooperation with Africa” would be suitable for the task, but any other support with real impact would be extremely valuable in moving forward with an intercontinental SME collaboration.