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Dear Madam/Dear Sir/Dear colleagues,
A united Europe is already a realization, developing into one of the world´s principal economic regions.
In 2004 some 70 million citizen of Eastern Europe and adjoining states joined the 360 million citizens in the European Union.
The distinguishing feature of Europe is the maintenance of cultural diversity and national structures even while standardization continues apace. As such, there is no evidence of uniformity but rather a continued tradition of variety and distinctiveness.
While we as citizens of distinct cultures salute this balance, it means that within the EU we must deal with a number of economic peculiarities, mindsets, interests, and consumer behaviours.
These facts make the challenge of broadening customer bases, and trying our luck beyond the usual regional or national market, even harder for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).
For precisely these reasons, SMEs will find themselves challenged in the coming decades. In a few years it will be the norm that a carpentry workshop from Czech Republic takes on the furnishing for a German builder in Mallorca, or that German fitters in a town on Poland´s Baltic coast assemble Danish wind-energy equipment. The domestic market for SMEs is a substantial and until now underutilized potential.
In order that "Going European" is indeed successful, two conditions must be fulfilled. One is that the entrepreneur receive economic information and competent support when setting up shop.
The other is the preparation for business activities, which include fundamental knowledge of the lifestyles of neighbouring countries, as well as a continuing exchange of experiences with other European entrepreneurs.
The EUSME offers both and such contributes to the building of a new and larger Europe as a community of values and a stable economic region presenting unlimited opportunities for our entrepreneurs.
Best regards, Hatto Brenner
Hatto Brenner holds a degree in Industrial Engineering and since 1978 has worked as consultant and head of AWI International Consultants, an international consultancy firm based in Erlangen/Germany with partner organizations in 45 countries. Previously he held leading positions in sales and marketing of international companies. Mr. Brenneris a member of the boards of a number of foreign trade committees, and has distinguished himself as author/editor on the topic of trade across national borders.