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EU – Taiwan Cluster Cooperation and Matchmaking Event

In Support of Smart Industry, Circular Economy and 5G -5th Generation Wireless Systems

Brussels, Belgium, 26th – 27th of June 2017

The 3rd EU – Taiwan Industrial Dialogue represented a unique opportunity to hold the EU–Taiwan Cluster Cooperation and Matchmaking Event facilitated by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform. On the 26th and 27th of June about 200 participants – involving companies, clusters and business associations from both regions – attended the event with the aim to exchange knowledge and foster cooperation.

In this context, the participant organisations had 131 formal meetings in addition to less formal interactions that took place through various networking activities included in the agenda. In particular, the Cluster-2-Cluster (C2C) matchmaking session on the 26th involved a delegation of 21 European clusters and 15 Taiwanese clusters, associations and government bodies. The session resulted in 77 formal meetings; while the business and cluster matchmaking session on the 27th resulted in 54 formal meetings. Preliminary feedback from the participants, showed the event had a very positive impact, which resulted in an average of 4 opportunities for cooperation per European cluster.

The event revolved around the smart industry, circular economy and 5G fields. It featured seminars on these fields as well as two matchmaking sessions, the first of which was exclusively devoted to cluster meetings (C2C). In fact, the packed agenda for the two days was designed to boost contacts and partnership agreements with Taiwanese organisations through the exploration of possible areas of interest for cooperation and complementarities in terms of sectoral, value chain and market focus. The ultimate goal was to enable EU SMEs to engage with Taiwan companies.

The European cluster delegation was comprised of 21 cluster organisations from 12 countries, namely Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Spain.

On the 26th of June, the meeting started with Ms. Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit Clusters, Social Economy and Entrepreneurship, DG Grow (European Commission) and Ms. Chun – Fang Hsu, Senior Advisor of Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI) welcoming participants. This was followed by the Taiwanese and European Cluster introductions, after which Ms. Noelia Dosil presented the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) and European Strategic Cluster Partnerships.

The morning concluded with a panel discussion: “Success stories in promoting EU – Taiwan cluster cooperation”. The panel was moderated by Mr. Johan Lecocq, Project Coordinator of DSP Valley, and the panel was composed of: Ben Van der Zon, Program manager internationalization iso programmer of High Tech NL; Mr. Yu – Wei Hsiao, Director of Taiwan Trade Centre Rotterdam, TAITRA; Ms. Laure Quintin, European Project Manager of Minalogic; and Dr. Fang-Chu Chen, Deputy Representative of the Western Europe Office of Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan (ITRI).

The seminar set the stage for the C2C matchmaking held in the afternoon, where a total of 36 clusters (21 from the EU and 15 from Taiwan) had 77 meetings with very positive results. The day ended with the participants enjoying a networking cocktail where they had the chance to set informal meetings.

Preliminary feedback is quite encouraging as meetings held, identified several promising cooperation opportunities. The participants showed a great interest in the Taiwanese market to the point that they asked for this to become an annual event, emphasizing its value for their cluster and SME members. Moreover, due to the Taiwanese business culture, the geographical distance and the need to invest adequate resources to attain positive benefits from the work done during these days, the participants considered that follow-up missions would be very helpful.

“It is important to see each other in different missions so we can build a network. The number of meetings is not as important as its quality since sometimes it is difficult to find the right counterpart. To build a partnership, the adequacy and stability of contacts over time is very important”

Isabelle de Sutter, Systematic Paris Region

Participants also praised the seminars, which helped them to gain knowledge on the status of the different fields within Taiwan, and emphasised the importance of the informal networking activities that they found very useful.

On the 27th, the opening ceremony included the presence of: Mr. Antti Peltomaki, Deputy Director General, DG GROW, European Commission; Dr Ho-Jen Tseng from the Taipei Representative Office in the European Union and Belgium; Mr. Chen-Chung Deng, Minister; and Dr. Ying-Yuan Lee, Minister, Environmental Protection Administration.

The Industrial Seminars focused on the domains of Smart Manufacturing, Circular Economy and 5G. Each seminar had a specific programme that included experts from Taiwan and the EU whom presented their visions, the latest innovations and their expectations for the future in their respective fields. The seminars clearly promoted interesting discussions and brought diverse opinions together.

A second matchmaking session took place, which provided the cluster participants a chance to meet with companies and other types of organisations from Taiwan, the EU and some other countries such as the US. A total of 54 meetings were held, again with promising outcomes. The event closed with a networking dinner.

Overall the EU-Taiwan Cluster Cooperation and Matchmaking Event was deemed very positive.

"The cluster matchmaking event in the context of the 3rd EU-Taiwan Industry dialogue was my first experience in such an event, and it was my first time with Taiwanese clusters. It was a great opportunity to know better about the Taiwanese industrial environment. A very important thing was to have the opportunity to meet the Taiwanese research centers to collaborate on R&D projects, also through the tools available at the European Commission. Our next goal, as a cluster, is to organize a mission into Taiwan with our companies and the contacts created through this event will make it easier!"

Roberto Caminiti, Mesap Innovation Cluster

Altogether the European clusters increased their knowledge on Taiwan - one of the fastest growing economies worldwide - and accessed key players in the Taiwanese market, which could act as door openers not only in Taiwan but in all of Asia. It was definitely a big success.

The EU–Taiwan Cluster Cooperation and Matchmaking Event was jointly organised by the DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (European Commission) through the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) in collaboration with Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), the Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI) and the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts

Further Contacts:

European Cluster Collaboration Platform team: [email protected]