“SMEs that are internationally active report higher employment growth, higher turnover growth, and are more innovative than their peers, as they need to increase product development to enter new markets.” Those are the thoughts of the European Commission report from 2010 entitled, ‘Internationalization of European SMEs’. CEED could not agree more. Those innovative entrepreneurs are our clients. They are predisposed to engaging, participating, and capitalizing on opportunities to be connected to international markets.
This past June CEED embarked on its second ‘business envoy’ trip to Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. The purpose of this trip was to connect our most prepared CEED entrepreneurs in the technology sector to senior level contacts who could help them understand and get better plugged into the business community in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. We wanted every entrepreneur to walk away with a platinum rolodex, a better understanding of who the operators are in each market, where the growth opportunities lay, where the finance is flowing, and how best they can position their firms to leverage these opportunities. Last but not least, we wanted them to see how they could they leverage what they learned in these unique and dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystems to bring back home.
Our CEED entrepreneur ‘envoys’ for this trip came from Armenia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Georgia (25 in all). Jam packed days of dynamic and informative meetings were followed by socially engaging evenings filled with great conversations and wonderful local cuisine with our local guests. Our all-star lineup included some of the elite investors in Israel like Jerusalem Venture Partners, Giza Ventures, and JANVEST Technologies, as well as dynamic entrepreneurial incubators and accelerators such as Elevator, StarTau, and Garage Geeks. In Palestine, the CEED ‘envoys’ got to make in-house visits to tech firms such as Exalt Technologies and Atlas, who are riding a wave of outsourcing and development business to US and European Multinationals like Cisco and SAP. We also met local investors such as Sadara Ventures. The Jordan visit capped off the trip with Visits to Oasis500, pitches at the MENAapps accelerator, and insights from the IT association Int@j as well as the Jordan Investment Board.
The connections, knowledge, experience sharing, new ideas, and camaraderie helped make this a unique experience for participants. No visit to this region would be complete without a visit to Petra to put a bookend to a work hard, play hard, entrepreneurial adventure.
We offer a special thank you to our partners and sponsors at the USAID funded Regional Competitiveness Initiative for helping make this trip possible.
Matej Cer, CEO Advant Car – “I join Gasper’s and Denis’s feedback and feelings about what we experienced and say once more big thanks and congratulation to James and Peter at CEED for whole idea, organization and hospitality. Best business trip I have ever been on, and I have been on many international trips.”
Denis Gafuri, CEO Smard – “I want to thank you for the wonderful trip and great contacts we made. Special thanks to CEED for a perfect organization of the journey down to the last details.”
Miha Vesel, CEO Finera – “Great organization, great trip, best contacts, and worth every penny!”
Dafina Haliti, Operations Manager at DLD Data – “I just want to thank you for this wonderful opportunity and the great contacts made this past week. I loved every second of it and I’m going to tell everyone I know about CEED.”