First companies welcomed to the Technocité NOVExport Hub

Jean-Philippe Savy ©Agglo/V.Biard

Opened in January in the Technocité Bayonne, the French Basque Country’s Hub of the European NOVExport project has been welcoming companies keen to export their goods or services to Latin America.
Created by the University of Bordeaux and the Aerospace Valley competitiveness cluster, funded by the European Interreg SUDOE programme and backed by the Communauté Pays Basque, this hub is led by Jean-Philippe Savy, Innovations and Corporate Relations Officer at the University of Bordeaux. Interview.  

  • What does the NOVExport project offer SMEs in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie regions?

The NOVExport project, funded by the European Union via the Interreg SUDOE programme, is designed to make small and medium enterprises operating in the aerospace and digital sectors more competitive. It also supports SMEs in their international expansion to farming, environmental and maritime markets in Latin America. These markets are much bigger and more profitable for promoting high-quality goods and services thanks to an ongoing cooperative process on a SUDOE regional scale of partners.

  • Which tools do these SMEs have access to?

France, Spain and Portugal are involved in this project that provides innovative tools and is a genuine technology maturation accelerator for goods and/or services to address the needs and challenges of these new export markets. This project involves the inauguration of hubs: locations where companies can express their innovation, maturation and internationalisation needs. There are six hubs: Badajoz, Bilbao and Madrid in Spain, Coimbra in Portugal, and Occitanie and Bayonne in France at the Technocité technopole. 

  • In real terms, what do companies have access to in these hubs?

Any company that comes here that wants to be involved in the project will have access to an open resource centre, a shared virtual platform to access and share data (geographical and in-situ data, market research, training courses, access to data processing tools, etc.). This NOVExport virtual resource centre concentrates documents on markets in Latin America: export methods, student dissertations, innovation and export training courses, etc. Here in Bayonne, companies also have a dedicated brainstorming room to work with the other partners in Europe (Badajoz, Bilbao, Coimbra, Basque Country, Madrid and Occitanie). In addition, SMEs benefit from technological and business cross-fertilisation to mature goods and services in line with the needs and specificities of the target markets, and an international access methodology and joint actions.

  • How are the companies that can benefit from this programme chosen?

The programme is open to all companies in the southern Nouvelle-Aquitaine basin that provide goods and services to address the challenges encountered in the agricultural, environmental and maritime sectors in Latin American countries. They simply need to apply via the NOVExport project website.

  • Why are you targeting the agricultural, environmental and maritime markets in Latin America?

These three sectors are of interest first and foremost because Latin America is a vast region with a strong potential for growth and is very susceptible to these problems. Global warming raises the issue of sustainable development and these countries must now address this challenge. You need only take the problems related to heavy metal pollution, managing water resources, soil contamination, deforestation and so on as examples. 

  • What services can European SMEs provide in these areas?

The aim is for companies in the European basin who have genuine experience in digital and geographical data and the IoT to work together to gain access to markets that respond to certain needs. Today, most of Latin America’s needs are centred on environmental problems. 

  • How would you sum up the Technocité hub’s operations since its inauguration at the start of January considering the constraints imposed by lockdown?

The University of Bordeaux operates this hub; it is the reference centre for south-west France for SMEs in the Basque Country. It offers expertise in international marking, commercial development, political stability and international commerce thanks to innovative, personalised learning tools. It relies on business owners and university experts to assist SMEs in defining the guidelines and methods for drawing up commercial strategies linked to the needs and specificities of countries in Latin America. One of the central pillars of the support programme proposed in this hub is a specific, innovative approach that considers data (geographical data, IoT data, AI data, etc.) as an essential factor to be used when coming up with commercial export strategies. Initially, the hall was equipped with multimedia equipment to enable video conferencing and remote working. We are currently conducting interviews with researchers specialising in international marketing, business development, political stability and international commerce. The aim is to make this expertise available to companies. We are therefore continuing to set up a virtual resource centre. A few companies have already come here seeking academic expertise. To respond to their specific needs, we recommend that they host students pursuing a master’s degree who research laboratories supervise. 

The NOVExport European project partners: Aerospace Valley, AD’OCC, Cluster Gaïa, Fundecyt-PCTEX, Instituto Pedro Nunes – Associaçao para a Inovaçao e Desenvolvimentoem Ciência e Technologia, University of Bordeaux.

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