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EUROPEAN SMESIssue 8 | 2011 www.14exhibition-world.netonsulting and lobbying boutique company CBBS Management Consulting and Business Building Company has forged a new initiative with central and southeast European associations in an attempt to bring more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) into the exhibition fold.A memorandum of understanding between CBBS, Central European Trade Fair Alliance (CEFA) and International exhibition statistics union Centrex is the latest hope for increasing regional backing from the SMEs that comprise trade fair exhibitors."The majority of exhibitors, visitors and partners participating at our events are SMEs and SME associations," says CBBS CEO Berislav Cizmek. "We are proposing to the director general of Enterprise and Industry at the European Commission that the trade fair industry in Europe is considered an important platform and support for the future growth, development and internationalisation of European SMEs in the markets of Europe and worldwide."The companies recently took part in a public consultation with the enterprise and industry directorate in Brussels, titled Small Business, Big World; a partnership to support greater and more effi cient internationalisation of Europe's SMEs. CEFA and Centrex members organise more than 1,000 trade and consumer events, representing the trade fair industry in 16 countries and its combined audience of 200 million inhabitants.The group's EU members include Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and incoming EU member Croatia. EU candidate countries include FYR Macedonia and Montenegro, CHAMPIONING SMESEW HEARS FROM A TRIUMVIRATE HOPING TO BOOST SME ATTENDANCE AT EUROPEAN EXHIBITIONSpotential EU candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and the non-EU countries Moldova and Ukraine.Micro businesses yielding great numbersThere are 25 million non-primary private enterprises in Europe (28 countries of the European Economic Area plus candidate countries to the European Union). Almost all of these are SMEs and more than 90 per cent are micro businesses with fewer than 10 employees.The typical European SME for example is a micro business employing three persons, while the average company size in Europe is fi ve people. SMEs employ more than 53 per cent of Europe's workforce (around 95 million people) and are responsible for half of Europe's total turnover. They are a key source of jobs and a breeding ground for business ideas. Small businesses are the main driver for innovation and employment as well as promoting social and local integration in Europe."We need to provide overall information about shows from both a visitor and non-visitor perspective. What can visitors from SMEs expect from trade shows?" asks Cizmek. "We need to offer visitor, transport and event service packages as well as things such as subsidising attendance."Given only fi ve to seven per cent of those 25 million SMEs in Europe are exhibiting today, there is a huge well of potential exhibitors to draw from. "We need to change visitor perspectives," says Cizmek. Readers can follow the efforts of CBBS, CEFA and Centrex online at: CBBS's Berislav Cizmek outlines the co-operation's key goals. Development and promotion of face-to-face (F2F) events in central and southeast Europe regions with a special focus on increasing image, knowledge and importance of F2F events for SMEs, regional development and cross border co-operation.. Better understanding of F2F events and their benefi ts for all industry stakeholders; the national and regional economies, local government, institutions and associations.. Starting EU projects together with regional and national partners, companies and stakeholders, with possible use of EU funding.. Transparent and audited statistics and other data about the F2F events taking place in central and southeast Europe.. Lobbying for the interests of the trade fair industry on the national and international level, including EU.. Creating market studies about regional and national economies.. The MoU was signed for the period of three years. The partners will initiate and conduct different projects working together with a broad range of organisers.22m European SMEs not currently exhibiting at European shows