International Trade Center
Topic of the practice
Creation of an International Trade Centre (ITC) to support SMEs in developing and implementing international trade
Good Practice Information
The main objective of the Centre is to support SMEs in developing and implementing international trade.Companies can use the services if they are SMEs and have their head office in the Moravian-Silesian region. However, the Centre's special care is given to SMEs that do not export yet but are planning to do so. Information on the International Trade Centre (ITC) was published in regional newspapers and is permanently presented on the webpage of the Regional Chambers of Commerce. Moreover an advice of each concrete action is sent by e-mail to the 700 companies registered in the Regional Chamber’s database. The ITC visits 10 – 20 firms each year and discuss with the management its needs and problems with international trade. The ITC was created thanks to the cooperation between the Union for the Development of the Moravian-Silesian region and the Regional Chamber of Commerce. At present the ITC is supported by the Regional Authority.
The main activities of the ITC are the transfer to the Moravian-Silesian region of existing special courses organized at the central level, the preparation of new seminars, the organization of territorial workshops, the support of participation of SMEs to trade fairs abroad, the promotion of the existing services and the research of contacts and relations in prospective foreign territories. The ITC also accommodates an Exporters Club which is a group of experienced and successful exporters in the region. The Club presents its viewpoints and recommendations concerning foreign trade. It also formulates proposals to improve and develop the activities of the ITC, transfers its experience to the other participants and participates to some negotiations on the regional level. The 2010 budget of the ITC was 40,000 EUR. The Union for the Development of Moravian-Silesian region and the Regional Authority contribute to it equally. Moderate participation fees are collected in the courses and seminars.
Evidence of success
The Union managed to concentrate various activities and services to one place and is able to offer that for free or for very reasonable prices. Moreover the ITC activities have activated larger interest in export and helped to reorient an excessive territorial focus from the European countries to other prospective territories.The ITC sent a questionnary to the companies to determine how many of them use its services and to measure the level of satisfaction of its customers. Two third of businesses which used these services were more or less satisfied. However, the rate of utilization is still low: the Union estimates that about 100 out of 700 companies registered in its database have used the services provided by the ICT in 2010. Expert seminars and trade missions are among the most used services.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
District Karvina and Jiri Tomcik, Representative of The Union for the development of the Moravian-Silesian region