It might not be business as usual, but business is still being done (and across borders), as a two-day virtual workshop connecting UK and South Korean firms in advanced manufacturing and materials recently showed.
A total of 30 delegates went online between 22nd-23rd April to view keynote addresses from market experts and inspirational innovators, take part in deep learning sessions led by innovation and funding advisers and participate in roundtable discussions to get a deeper understanding of the South Korean market, culture and business opportunities.
The virtual workshops were organised in record quick time by Enterprise Europe Network SW after a planned visit to South Korea as part of Innovate UK's Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) to Korea EUREKA Day 2020 had been cancelled due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
South Korea is an attractive market for SME’s developing cutting edge technologies and spurred on by the interest stimulated through the GBIP recruitment campaign, programme lead Louise Hooker refused to let a global pandemic stand in the way of developing new business opportunities. Despite the challenges of the current situation, companies remained keen to sign up and take part in the virtual workshop, which garnered some impressive feedback:
“This was definitely the best webinar that I have attended. It was highly interactive and friendly. I agree that such webinars should be integrated in the process in the future as they give you the opportunity to explore any doubts that you may have, whilst preparing you for entry to a new market. Thanks.” – Tony Winfield, Sustainable Computers Ltd
“I found the whole workshop a great introduction into the South Korean market. It was really interesting and helpful to understand more about the culture and learn how best to do business in the country. It's made me excited to start pursuing opportunities and collaborations there now. Thank you for organising the event and adapting it into a virtual workshop during these difficult circumstances, it worked well.”
Helen Purdue, Promethean Particles
“This was a high grade event which was clearly well planned. Nice to work with people who know what they're doing. Thanks.”
Bruce Woodman, Pure Energy Professionals
“Excellent start to day 1 - the organising team are doing a great job under difficult circumstances. I thought they were all very approachable, joining instructions were good and impressive use being made of IT.”
Paul Ladislaus, First Graphene UK Ltd
"Doing it in virtual format was a whole new experience for everyone I'm sure. I found myself being more focused in the sessions (than in normal occasions)."
Rouzbeh Jarkaneh, DST Innovations
Louise Hooker, Global Business Innovation Programme Lead at EEN comments:
“The success of the workshop is testament to the determination and collective will of businesses to come together, exchange knowledge and collaborate together to overcome global challenges.
“In this current period, EEN, with an international network that spans over 65 countries is well placed to provide vital support to help innovative SMEs create and seize new market opportunities and find trusted partners.
“The workshop which focused on advanced manufacturing and materials was particularly apt considering the UK’s globally competitive strengths in the sector and the pivotal role that this industry will play in accelerating the economic recovery from COVID-19.”