The importance of Europe to South West businesses

Leigh Jenkins
Marketing Manager - Innovation | Enterprise Europe Network
28th July 2016

With the result of the recent EU referendum many businesses have been left unsure about the future of our trading and R& D activities with Europe.

International Trade and joint R&D with Europe has been, and will continue to be, vital  for the growth and success of UK business. Over a number of years the UK has been developing strong trading relationships and enjoying economic growth in countries outside the EU but in spite of this the EU remains by far our largest trading partner. 

Some stats about the UK, Europe and South West businesses

1. The 27 members of the European Union account for 44% of the UK’s exports in goods and services. Though the proportion of UK exports to non-EU markets is growing in volume terms, our recent growth in exports has been larger to the EU.

2. The UK is one of the largest recipients of research funding from the  EU.  During the period 2007-2013 and under Framework Programme 7 - R&D funding awarded to UK organisations on a competitive basis , was €6.9 billion out of a total award of €55.4 billion, making the UK the second largest recipient of EU R&D funding after Germany.

3. The South West of England was one of the top ten individual regions for research grant applications. The region received just under €600 million during the Framework Programme 7 period, with a further €44 million awarded to SMEs during the same period. 

4. Organisations in Bristol and Swindon are amongst the largest UK recipients of Horizon 2020 research grants Since the Horizon 2020 R&D  programmes started in 2014 approximately €120million in grants has been allocated to organisations in the Bristol and Swindon area.

How can the Enterprise Europe Network help?

For those, organisations wishing to strengthen or form new international relationships in trade, technology transfer or joint R&D during this time of transition, the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) can support your goals.

Operating in over 60 countries including many of the world’s major economies, and with over 600 partner organisations, EEN is the world’s largest support network for SMEs and R&D performing institutions.

EEN provides information and support to businesses in the fields of international business cooperation, innovation, knowledge and technology transfer and cooperation in EU funding programmes.

No matter what the negotiations bring regarding our new arrangements, is important that we retain and continue to grow our existing collaboration in trade and R&D, both with the EU and the rest of the world - it is simply not an option to stall activity awaiting for the outcome of any negotiation. 

EEN has a key role to play in helping you strengthen your existing individual relationships and also to find new partners in Europe and the rest of the world as we look towards what our future brings.

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