ACE to Provide a Customised Approach to Internationalisation with the support of SPI
21 November 2013
“In Europe today, the big problem is not the lack of start-ups but the lack of company growth. ACE addresses this by providing targeted support to help highly innovative start-ups and SMEs in the ICT sector to grow internationally,” Viorel Peca of the European Commission told partners at the kick-off of the ACE (Accelerating Cross-border Engagement) project in Brussels.
Indeed, a look at the age distribution of the world’s 500 largest listed companies shows that Europe’s corporate giants include only 12 companies born in the second half of the twentieth century, against 51 in the US and 46 in emerging countries; of these, only three were created after 1975 in Europe, compared with 26 in the US and 21 in emerging markets (http://www.bruegel.org/publications/publication-detail/publication/9-financing-europes-fast-movers/
). The ACE programme is a new tailor-made acceleration programme that addresses this through the early engagement of highly innovative ICT start-ups, SMEs and entrepreneurs in cross-border cooperation and venturing in order to boost their growth.
The top 100 ICT start-ups and SMEs in Europe will be selected to participate in the ACE acceleration programme on the basis of an open call for candidates, officially launching in January 2014. Successful companies will be assigned an experienced mentor in their own (or nearest ACE partner) country. This ‘local’ mentor will analyse their internationalisation strengths and weaknesses, develop an individual internationalisation action plan with them and put an internationalisation support team and package of support measures in place for them. This may include living lab validation in other countries, hands-on assistance in finding partners and clients, introductions to investors and preparing companies to pitch for transnational investment and office space.
If you are an Irish start-up or SME looking to expand into the French and German markets, for example, our partners there will personally introduce you to relevant contacts from customers through suppliers to possible investors and vice versa.
Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with customised feedback and encouraged to prepare for internationalisation by engaging with other companies, investors and mentors through the ACE online stakeholder community.
Launched in September 2013 and funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the EU, ACE is a two-year project involving 15 partners (leading incubators, clusters, living labs and accelerators) from 12 European countries. The ACE programme will provide intensive one-to-one support to ICT start-ups and SMEs to ensure that they rapidly gain entry and grow into international markets. The official launch of the ACE call for candidates will be 1 January 2014. Companies can already register their interest at www.europeanace.eu
ACE is one of seven projects funded by the EU, under the EUHub (www.euhub.eu
) umbrella, to support ICT companies in accelerating their business growth through internalisation and cross-border financing.