European Business Information

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					                                     European Information Centre
                                     Access to European business information
                                     and public sector tendering opportunities
                                     January 2007




Introduction                                            Using our EIC services your business will also be
                                                        able to:
European Info Centres (EIC) forms a network of
over 300 offices throughout Europe.                         •    exploit the potential of the enlarged
                                                                 European market;
Their role is to promote potential business                 •    find out about European Union
opportunities in European markets and                            programmes and initiatives aimed at small
disseminate free information on EU programmes,                   and medium sized businesses; and
initiatives, and funding opportunities.                     •    leverage the UK’s membership of the
                                                                 European Union in general.
Invest NI is the host organisation for the EIC in
Northern Ireland. Based in Belfast, the EIC is run      How does it work?
in conjunction with our Business Information
Centre (see separate brochure).                         You can use our Business Information Services at
                                                        any time on an ongoing basis. You can use our
The EIC houses a comprehensive range of                 enquiry service (see below), make an
market research, company databases and                  appointment to call in, or call using the contact
directories, and other business information.            details overleaf.

The EIC is also part of the Interactive Policy          Enquiry Service
Making Initiative where concerns about trade
difficulties in the Single Market are fed back to the   The EIC runs an enquiry service, in conjunction
European Commission in Brussels.                        with our Business Information Services, where
                                                        enquiries can be made by email of telephone,
How will it help me?                                    between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

With direct access to the latest European               Enquiries are answered quickly, usually within two
information, documents and databases, our               working days, although additional time may be
specialists can give you all the help and guidance      required for more complex enquiries.
you need on:
                                                        Visits
    •   legislation;
    •   sources of funding;                             You can visit the EIC, where staff can discuss
    •   public sector tender opportunities;             your needs and suggest the best resources and
    •   European issues and policies;                   demonstrate how to use the relevant databases.
    •   business opportunities; and
    •   the Euro.                                       Tenders Alert Service

Businesses that are exporting, or preparing to          Thousands of tender opportunities in sectors such
export, can get valuable information through the        as construction, engineering, health services and
EIC’s connections to the Europe-wide network.           utility contracts, are advertised in Tenders
Electronic Daily by the public sector and                    •   total sales of over £100,000 a year;
privatised utilities in Europe and beyond.
                                                             •   sales outside Northern Ireland of greater
The EU’s public procurement market provides                      than 25 per cent of turnover or greater
valuable contracts for a variety of suppliers, from              than £250,000 a year; and
road and bridge construction, to the supply of ice-
cream to schools or the design of high technology            •   the capability and willingness to work with
university building.                                             Invest NI.

Our Tenders Alert Service offers the following           If you are not an Invest NI client, but can satisfy
services to subscribing businesses:                      the above criteria and would like to become one,
                                                         please contact the Invest NI office in your area.
    •   daily alerting service matching tender           Full details can be found at www.investni.com.
        opportunities to tailored company profiles;
                                                         Contact
    •   advice and assistance on tendering
        procedures;
                                                         Louise Wallace
                                                         European Information Centre
    •   UK and EU public procurement                     Invest Northern Ireland
        regulations;                                     Bedford Square
                                                         Bedford Street
    •   assistance and advice on supplying local         Belfast BT2 7ES
        government, education boards, the health
        sector and utility companies;                    T: 028 9069 8135
                                                         E: eic@investni.com
    •   information on where to access tender
        opportunities for below EC thresholds;           If you are an Invest NI client you may also contact
        and                                              your Client Executive if you feel your business will
                                                         benefit from this service.
    •   advice on how to find public tenders on
        the Internet.                                    nibusinessinfo.co.uk
How much does it cost?                                   Invest NI has launched a new online information
                                                         and support facility, nibusinessinfo.co.uk.
Our European Information Services are generally
free of charge, but there may be a nominal cost          This web site provides all Northern Ireland
for larger reports, specialist searches and items        businesses and entrepreneurs with free access to
such as photocopying. There is a subscription            an extensive source of essential business
charge for the Tender Alert Service.                     information.

Who is eligible?                                         nibusinessinfo.co.uk provides 24x7 advice,
                                                         information, guidance and signposting, with over
This service is available to Invest NI clients and all   5,000 fact sheets and over 70 interactive tools on
businesses in Northern Ireland.                          offer. Every aspect of setting up and running a
                                                         business is covered, from the earliest days of
Becoming an Invest NI client                             developing a business idea to the legal issues
                                                         involved in selling a business concern.
To qualify as an Invest NI client company your
business must meet certain criteria.                     nibusinessinfo.co.uk also features case studies
                                                         showing how local businesses have handled
You should typically be from the manufacturing or        particular business challenges.
international tradeable sectors and be able to
demonstrate that currently, or over the next three       nibusinessinfo.co.uk provides you with a single
years, your business will have:                          point of access for all your business information
                                                         needs, freeing up time for to concentrate on
                                                         running operations.

				
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