Innovating Through Europe’s Economic Crisis

Venetian mask

Europe’s financial crisis is creating havoc, but as an ancient Chinese saying goes:  crisis equals opportunity.  There are many ways you can help Europe and your business through this crisis:

Hiring Europe Tech Talent – Silicon Valley is suffering from a serious talent shortage due to the rapid growth and hiring of Facebook, Google, Apple and other Internet and mobile companies.  In the past, India was a key source, but European developers are plentiful and often more creative and innovative.  Silicon Valley companies and recruiters should work closely with Europe’s technical universities, professional associations, and regional promotion agencies.  The best places to look:

– Ireland:  ConnectIreland.com is looking for foreign companies to invest, but they can connect you with tech talent.  Silicon Republic provides tech news:  http://www.siliconrepublic.com/. The Irish Innovation Center in San Jose, CA has numerous ties in Ireland and expanding its reach to other European nations:  http://www.irishic.com/

– Italy:  MindtheBridge.com runs a San Francisco incubator that brings Italian ventures to the Bay Area, but it’s bringing in ventures from other nations.

– Spain:  InvestinSpain.org can connect you with tech talent, as well as Jobssy.com, a Madrid job-matching service.

– Germany:  The German American Business Association (www.gaba-network.org) offers a variety of events and services.

– France:  Parisoma.com has strong ties with France and Europe.  I’m an international adviser to EPITA.fr, France’s largest computer science school so contact me via DreamscapeGlobal.com.

– Nordic region:  Silicon Vikings (www.siliconvikings.com), Swedish American Chamber of Commerce (http://sacc-usa.org/), and Innovation Center Denmark (http://www.dabf.dk/Files/Documents/Finding%20Investors%20by%20Alex%20Portilla.pdf) are gateways to Scandanavia.

– Russia:  Skolkovo Innovation Centre in the new Skolkovo tech park can introduce you to tech talent:  http://www.sk.ru/en/

Marketing European Companies:  Even though Europe is in recession, there are always opportunities to enter the European market if you target your entry markets well.  Where are the opportunities?   Probably the biggest one is helping European companies, both large and small, to expand their sales overseas, especially in the U.S. and Asia.  Companies can be contacted through the above agencies and groups.

Entrepreneurship Training:  European regions and entrepreneurs are seeking tips and insights on how to promote innovation and entrepreneurship since most schools and universities don’t offer practical courses in these fields.  You can offer presentations and workshops, both online and in person, by partnering with European companies.  For example, I’m partnering with an Italian company that will arrange and market my entrepreneurship workshops throughout Europe.  I also write a periodic article on Silicon Valley trends for an Italian blog:  http://www.lifestylentrepreneur.org/categoria/letters-from-silicon-valley/

Importing European Products:  Importing products and services is always a popular business.  The key is to do your research and find products/services in your area of interest or expertise where you know that you can easily sell them online.  For example, Nordics make wonderful sweaters, while small Italian manufacturers offer top-quality fashions which you can find by contacting Netstyler.com in Naples.  Seek and ye shall find.  Now it’s fairly easy to build an online retail business using cloud services.

So there are many ways to help and partner with European businesses and regional agencies. Given the urgency, Europeans are very open now to working with people who want to work and grow with the. Plus, visiting Europe is always a pleasant reward!  I’m going to Brussels and Italy in June, perfect timing since the dollar is strong.  Come join me!

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