EVM: reconsider the future in international cooperation

Thursday, 17 January 2019

EVM is a Canarian SME of engineering and multidisciplinary consultancy which focus on the integral management of technological-based projects and R&D. We are specialized in professional services regarding social, technology and educational innovation, as well as services to raise funding and assistance for the implementation of projects. We also stand out on our participation in European projects in cooperation with public and private organizations at European and international levels.

We help other companies and administrations to transform their ideas into projects. We conduct them through the whole process from the idea maturation to the raising funds and its management. We have been working for 10 years with local and national entities and increasingly with entities from other parts of the world.

"The local partners help to solve the unfamiliarity of the target markets and they also provides an added value since they know how to deal better with the administrations and the companies and they fully understand the business and political culture of the country. This reduces the learning curve of the SME which wants to begin the process of internationalization."

What is it the main activity of the company nowadays?

We mainly work in three activities:

Digital strategy. In this activity we offer services of Foresight and Strategic Formulation: strategical thinking, planning of future scenarios.

Innovation. In this area we have lines of actions. On the one hand, cultural and innovative process and, on the other hand, fundraising of the innovation. In the sector of innovation, the technical office of design, preparation and implementation of European projects stands out.

Digital. Finally, the third activity is a specific area focus on the development of digital transformation projects and the introduction to digital culture and skills in the company and the administrations. Moreover, we offer services related to Analytics and Data Visualization or Intelligent Open Data. All of them are linked to the knowledge-driven economy and the data-driven decision making

In short, if an entrepreneur or researcher wants to carry out his/her projects in a company, we identify the suitable funding and the necessary partners in order to bring the project to a successful conclusion.

Why is it interesting for business development to look at foreign markets? 

To look at foreign markets is a source of business and intellectual growth with high added value. Canary Islands are a small and fragmented territory, but due to the current connectivity and globalization, we can enter into foreign markets easier than before. This allows the SME that have small infrastructure, as ours, to enter in a nimble and flexible way and to be competitive in the foreign markets.

Likewise, getting to know other business cultures enriches and reappraises our company and our employees.

What projects are you currently carrying out abroad? In what countries and why?

We can basically talk about two lines of work. On the one hand, the participation in European projects and programs. On the other hand, the direct sale of EVM’s services and products in different countries of Latin America.

We are developing services for strategic formulation and funding of the Innovation in Latin America. Especially in Argentina and Chile, we have managed to introduce our new service of  “Strategical Planning for Future Scenarios” over the last few years. This service can develop different plans or strategies for a particular region or challenge projecting into 10 years future. For example, with several possible scenarios and based on the emergent trends, it allows a better planning of the actions. We also have developed projects of the Open Government for several years, as well as related apps, such as CiviClick that allow a better and greater exchange of information between the public administration and the citizenship, which gives meaning to democracy.

Regarding European projects, we have made great progress over the last 5 years. Nowadays, we are developing several cooperation projects for the innovation and the exchange of the best practices in the field of education and training. These projects are financing by the European Erasmus+ program. In this area, we cooperates and work closely with European and Latin American Universities, training centres, business associations or innovative centres and scientific and technological parks. Almost all the projects have focused on the introduction of new technologies in educational models, as well as the approach between the universities and the business world. Due to this, we have developed specific educational and training programs for SME on cloud computing, Internet of Things or Industry 4.0.

Our professional path in Europe began in 2013 when we participated in a project financed by European funds. Since then, we have broaden our participation up to 15 projects. In 2017, we reach the milestone of leading the Erasmus+ program regarding the new professional skills and abilities for the Industry 4.0.

We are currently running around 10 projects with partners from different countries, such as Italy, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Malta, Finland or Sweden among others. On the other hand, and also due to the Erasmus+ program, we are cooperating with University of La Laguna and other Latin America University (Argentina and Mexico), United Kingdom and Italy in Latin America in order to create and develop courses about the Open Government.

What problems have you faced when going abroad? How have you solved them? Have you received any support?

 

The biggest obstacle that SMEs have is when it comes to raising funds in order to carry out an internationalization process and to develop projects and actions abroad. Because of the scarce resources, you have to consider the risks of going abroad in order to not make mistakes, since if you fail, it can be very traumatic for the survival of the company.

In our case, this issue have been solved partly due to our participation in Canarias Aporta (managed by PROEXCA), which co-finances the cost of this process. We have already participated in two editions, the last of which meant our consolidation.

Another problem is found at cultural and administrative levels. When you work in other countries, the business and bureaucratic culture is different, sometimes their pace is different. In our case, we have been trying to open an office in Argentina for over more than a year but, due to bureaucratic-administrative problems, we have not achieve it yet.

It is also fundamental to surround yourself with trusted agents and people in the target countries, who help you to solve the problems that we have mention above. The local partners help to solve the unfamiliarity of the target markets and they also provides an added value since they know how to deal better with the administrations and the companies and they fully understand the business and political culture of the country. This reduces the learning curve of the SME which wants to begin the process of internationalization.

Have you achieved any achievement abroad?

To lead the Erasmus+ project at a European level is not easy to achieve. In this case, we are leading a project that has eight partners form 6 countries (Italy, Malta, Greece, Bulgaria, Rumania and Spain). In addition, in the same call for Erasmus+ in 2017, it was approved 5 projects which we could not achieved previously. It is also remarkable that we have achieved our first participation in a R&D project financed by the program H2020 of the European Union, through the COST line which is directed by the University of Oporto.

Another recent achievement is that CiviClick may be present in a municipality of the state of New Jersey in a couple of months. We have reached an agreement with a Latino Democrat leader who can act as the prescriber of the Civiclick solution in the states of New York and New Jersey. It will allow him to suggest the free installation for a year to the first municipality that is interesting in it.

Finally, we highlight that, in one of our last activities in Argentina and Chile, we achieve some agreements. Among them, it stands out the agreement with the SADOP union, which consists in the participation in European projects through the Erasmus+ program. It also stands out the Agreement with a Chilean company in order to analyse the possibility to offer the EVM services through this company.

Nowadays, we are working for the University of Santiago de Chile (USACH), and we hope to strength our relationship with it through a framework agreement in 2018.

Has it been easy to internationalize? How did your experience begin?

It have not been easy. We have been working in Latin America for eight years and we have not achieved the goals that we have planned yet. The existence of support programs for the internationalization process facilitates the possibility of bringing it to a successful conclusion. The participation in several international events allows to contact with potential partners for the development of projects.

Why would you recommend internationalization?

The experience of developing international projects enriches us as a company and as people. We have to take into account that the target market of our company is beyond Canary Island.

Carla García Hernández

Project Manager

Tel.: +34 922 029 363

Email: carla.garcia@evm.net 

Web: www.evm.net

Translated by  Haridian Suárez González,  Junary 15th 2019

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