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International development

International development

Essential elements of international development

The MecaTech Competitiveness Cluster’s international dimension is reflected in different ways:

  • the international dimension of its projects (international partners at different steps of the value-added chain:  R&D, production, marketing, customer service, and training);
  • international recognition of the business network  (number and quality of international partners, participation of international experts, access to international funding, etc.); and
  • its ability to attract foreign entities looking to invest in Wallonia (with the help of OFI).

 

Concentration of resources on its projects

As the business network’s ultimate objective is to create jobs and activity, the priority is on promoting projects with an international dimension.  This approach must also facilitate contacts with foreign business networks, for it makes it possible to build upon actual achievements, to propose industrial cooperation, and to put together international projects (including their financial engineering).  Consequently, the business network concentrates most of its resources on project promotion.

In addition, certain more limited actions focus on promoting the business network itself, which is a means of regional development but not an end in itself.

 

Need to flesh out the projects’ international positioning strategies

The international dimension of a project is contingent on setting an appropriate marketing strategy.  Knowledge of the markets and their competitive structures must make it possible:

  • to refine the product or process’s specific characteristics in the R&D and industrialization phases and thus to improve its position on the market;
  • to improve the quality and speed of the product or process’s roll-out;
  • to strengthen its competitive position;
  • to identify potential international partners; and
  • to develop new projects.

The cluster thus supports market studies, sales strategy analyses, and scouting for partners abroad.

 

International promotion of MecaTech Competitiveness Cluster

This is done

  • via contacts with international partners (business networks, groups, and so on);
  • via searches for collaboration on existing or future projects.

To date, the MecaTech Competitiveness Cluster has been concentrating its promotion efforts on Belgium’s neighboring countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg).

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Our international actions:

Intermat

On 3 March 2010 the MATERALIA (France), MECATECH (Belgium), and SURFMAT (Luxembourg) business networks created the first cross-border business network on materials, called INTERMAT, recognized by the EU.
- Organization of joint events.
- Development of the first projects of collaboration involving French and Belgian players (call for projects issued by the Regional Council of Champagne-Ardenne).
- Determination of a project creation approach methodology based on MecaTech’s mapping and the mapping done by the partners.
- First real case in the field of medical devices.

 

International working group on Medical Devices

The Intermat group decided to put together a European Interreg project on medical devices.  For the needs of this field, it decided to open the working group to other partners, namely,

 - Pôle Fibres (French)
 - Microtechnologies (French)
 - Competence Center for Medical Technology (Swiss)
 - Medical Mountains (German) 

 

Imagésanté Festival on imagery and health

This biennial event of international magnitude is organized by Liège’s Teaching Hospital Complex.  The MecaTech cluster contributed to the 2012 edition by adding a category of industrial films on medical devices.

 

Transmit

The TRANSMIT project was cofinanced by the EU under its Leonardo program.  The MecaTech Competitiveness Cluster took part in it in order to adapt a training scheme for SMEs on marketing and selling high-tech products that was initially developed by Grenoble University (France) to the situation in Wallonia.

The MecaTech Cluster now offers this training in Wallonia in partnership with HEC-ULg Executive School.

 

Other international contacts

 - TEXAS A&M University
 - La Grande Région ("the Greater Region:" Wallonia, GDL, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, and Lorraine http://www.granderegion.net/fr/grande-region/index.html )
 - Basque Country, AFM (Machine Tool Manufacturers Association of Spain).
 - The Netherlands.
 - Romania.

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