Thank you and goodbye!
This is the last Newsletter from the present team of the EU4Business Secretariat. For three and a half years, we have had the privilege to support one of the best flagship initiatives of the European Commission, targeting the SME sector in the six countries in the Eastern Partnership. A core team of eight dedicated colleagues in Brussels and twelve liaison and communication officers in the Eastern Partner countries, all EY staff, worked continuously to monitor, report and communicate on EU4Business programmes and projects, as well as on related events.
Over these years, the EU4Business Secretariat has reached out to more than a thousand people in all six countries; it has analysed some 400 programme and project documents. Our reports reflect the views of more than 500 SME owners, implementing partners, national authorities, and business support organisations. We have collected 150 success stories from SMEs, offering an insight of what EU4Business means for them. And our efforts to attach ‘faces’ to the stories have not gone unnoticed: launched at the end of 2016, our website has grown from 29,000 users in 2017 to more than 120,000 today.
The efforts of the Secretariat would not have been successful without close cooperation with DG NEAR, the EU Delegations in the Partner countries, the national authorities and, last but not least, the implementers. We are in debt to all the entrepreneurs we met and spoke with. Their views and their stories have been a source of inspiration, and in turn we hope to have guided many small businesses towards EU4Business support.
Our team has carried out the work with heart and mind, realising that we are part of a history that will be remembered long after our job has been completed. We are sure the next Secretariat will serve EU4Business stakeholders and beneficiaries with the same passion and dedication as we did. At the same time, we will remain the most enthusiastic EU4Business ambassadors and we will certainly meet each other again!
Dr Julia Djarova (EY)
Team leader, EU4Business Secretariat