The S-ACCESS project is promoted by 7 Cluster organisations operating in the field of railway technologies, also extended to multi-modal technologies related to freight and logistics.
The Clusters are very experienced in internationalization activities for SMEs and strongly believe that the sectors where they operate are perfect for the development – under this Action – of new strategic approaches well re-applicable to other industrial sectors in Europe in order to support and increase SMEs’ participation in international public procurements.
The project covers 1.000 SMEs members of the 7 Partners and addresses as target countries USA, Canada and Norway.
Railways are a key sector in these countries and result to be very attractive from a public procurement perspective; moreover the Partners have chosen them for the following specific reasons:
- USA: it is the country our SME members are most interested in. This information comes from the implementation of the “PERES ESCP-4i” (2018-2019) where the Partners have previously worked on joint internationalization strategy and activities; the PERES Strategy, in fact, targets USA as first country and during the project implementation the Partners have made with a delegation of their SME members a “pilot study trip” of one week totally organised by themselves to Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Among its results, an MoU with “Ohio Small Business Development Center and Export Assistance Network (EAN) at Youngstown State University” has been signed in July 2019 and it is into force until December 2021. Hence, the Partners are ready to work on the USA and to capitalise on the knowledge and relationships already created;
- CANADA: the reasons behind this choice are several:
the railway markets in USA and Canada, although separated, can well be addressed together, also in terms of potential local partnerships sought;
in September 2018 at “InnoTrans” railway fair the Partners have started talks with the “Quebec Ground Transportation Cluster”3, that can be a perfect local partner – e.g. – for identifying local companies with whom to establish consortia for public procurements;
some Partners have already in place exchanges with/received visits from Canadian public authorities;
last but not the least, the Partners want to fully exploit the opportunities offered by the CETA FTA, and specifically the ones concerning unparalleled access to governmental public procurements also in the rolling stock sector (that before CETA were totally inaccessible) and opportunities for SMEs;
- NORWAY: the country has been chosen because
it is one of EU nearest countries having a major investment plan for railways in the coming years;
the country does not own an important rail supply industry, hence has to mostly rely on foreign suppliers;
the country, being member of EEA(European Economic Area), implements the EU Directives on public procurements – having transposed them into Norwegian law;
the country, being member of EEA, implements European standards defined within CEN-CENELEC, hence the ones our SMEs are used to, this avoiding extra-costs for compliance of their solutions to be charged in the bids;
some Partners have already organized study visits to Norway and assessed the interest represented by the market.
The specific objectives the S-ACCESS project aims to achieve are :
- to give answer to the SMEs’ obstacles developing new strategic approaches and specific operational tools, also in collaboration with strategic stakeholders;
- to develop the Partners’ capacities in this respect so that this can become a standard offer of services to SMEs on continuous basis
- to discover market opportunities in the target countries, their key-rules and to identify all the target procurers;
- to prepare SMEs to the operational activities through specific training / mentoring, matchmakings with other European SMEs
- to use cross-cutting synergies with key stakeholders to better achieve the project objectives;
- to draft an Internationalisation Strategy and its Implementation Roadmap on the basis of the knowledge acquired;
- to organise incoming/outgoing missions from/to target countries to reinforce market knowledge, procurers’ knowledge and possible local partnerships for SMEs;
- to assist SMEs in seizing the opportunities both on individual basis and through SMEs consortia, organising matchings/meetings to the scope;
District for Rail Technologies, High Speed, Networks’ Safety & Security Consortium.
DITECFER is the leading railway cluster in Italy. Its 50 shareholders represent companies of the rail supply industry and specialized research bodies.
DITECFER is managing authority of the « Tuscan Railway Cluster » representing an eco-system of> 115 companies operating in the railway supply chain, 4 Universities, CNR, laboratories for railway tests.
The Rail Industry Cluster in Central Germany.
When it comes to networking activities for small and medium-sized Saxon enterprises, BTS Rail Saxony is an expert in providing ‘high-speed connections’. With around 110 members and more than 1,000 contacts in industry, science and politics, the association is the prevalent representative of the Saxon railway industry and the largest cluster of the rail sector in Central Germany.
i-Trans is the French cluster for railway industry, sustainable multimodal and urban transportation systems, which is specialized in sustainable ground transport and logistics. It includes big groups, intermediate and medium-sized companies and laboratories from all directions in ambitious innovation projects that result in approved prototypes as well as industrialized and marketed products. Thus, the center provides a major contribution to the development of competitiveness and employment within railway and car industries.
Mafex, the Spanish Railway Association, is the association that represents the Spanish railway industry, currently bringing together 92 companies that account for 72% of rail exports in our country. Its mission is to support the Spanish Railway sector by accompanying our companies in their internationalization process, as well as defending their general interests to achieve, through cooperation, the highest standards of competitiveness.
Järnvägsklustret – Railway Cluster of Sweden (Sweden) is the cluster cooperation between railway technology companies located in Västerås and Västmanland County. The cluster provides a cooperation platform for regional companies engaged in the train and railway industry. It is composed by 50 members (of which 33 SMEs) represented by train manufacturers, infrastructure contractors, engineering and training consultants, complemented and strengthened by providers of operations and maintenance (O&M) services and research and development (R&D) competence.
RCSEE Rail Cluster for South-East Europe (Serbia) is the Cluster founded and managed by BSN representing its legal entity) and composed by 50 rail industries (of which 43 SMEs) from 7 Countries: Serbia plus Austria, Croatia, Germany, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia. Among its strategic goals, RCSEE targets i.e. modernisation of railway system in South-East Europe; harmonization of standards of railway systems in Southeast Europe; increase of productivity and competitiveness in the international market. Among the services RCSEE supplies to members: Academy for training and further education of experts in Southeast Europe railways; Current market analyses in all sectors related to railways and development projects; Quarterly bilingual bulletin RCSEE; Harmonization of standards of railway systems in Southeast Europe.
Rail Alliance (United Kingdom) is the UK’s largest, fastest growing networking organisation supporting the rail sector with 730 members, of which 690 SMEs. Rail Alliance mission is to enable industry to prosper through collaboration and innovation. Thanks to its relationships with end users and its entrepreneurial experts, it offers the supply chain full-service solutions across technology readiness levels. It is based in Stratford on Avon at the “Quinton Rail Technology Centre”, a private testbed for railway innovations and home of the largest outdoor railway trade fair organised by the Rail Alliance.
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