Entrepreneurs are bridging the gap between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean. “Entrepreneurs’ Success Stories in the Mediterranean”, a new brochure compiled by ANIMA Investment Network, the European Investment Bank and the European Commission (Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry), is a collection of contributions that highlight the advantages and potential of the Euro-Mediterranean area. This brochure was presented at the 9th FEMIP Conference, which was held on Monday 30 May 2011 in Casablanca.

What is the link between a Belgian water treatment company operating in Morocco and an Egyptian electricity meter manufacturer that has chosen the Czech Republic as a base for conquering the European market? “Entrepreneurs’ Success Stories in the Mediterranean” shows that entrepreneurs are building bridges between the two shores of the Mediterranean and establishing, on a day-to-day basis, the framework for shared prosperity throughout the region. In the words of Philippe de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice-President in charge of FEMIP: “The Euro-Mediterranean economic area is being created above all by the entrepreneurial men and women who seize the opportunities the South has to offer and are working on a day-to-day basis for shared economic growth”.

The entrepreneurs who tell their stories in this brochure show that, despite the upheavals in the region and the different situations prevailing in the various partner countries, interdependence is growing between the European Union and the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean. The stories included were chosen from among several hundred to reflect the diversity of the different sectors of the economy concerned and to provide as wide a cross-section as possible of the countries involved in the Union for the Mediterranean. The contributions also cover businesses of different sizes, including SMEs, whose “dynamism is crucial for creating employment and offering concrete opportunities to the younger generations”, as European Commission Vice-President for Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani put it.  

The entrepreneurs’ stories illustrate various forms of cooperation. Thus the ANIMA Mediterranean Investment and Partnership Observatory (MIPO) has found over the past two years that European companies are increasingly choosing to approach Mediterranean markets through partnerships with local businesses. As Emmanuel Noutary, General Delegate of ANIMA and Director of the Invest in Med programme, put it: “business partnerships enable Mediterranean countries to capture more directly the benefits of the newly created activities by strengthening their human resources, accelerating transfers of technology and increasing their access to markets, especially in third countries". Furthermore, the cooperation is now being established in different directions. That is why specific examples of North-South but also South-North and South-South investments and partnerships have been included in this publication “Entrepreneurs’ Success Stories in the Mediterranean”.

Copies of the brochure are available on request from the partner organisations or in electronic format on their websites: ANIMA Investment Network (www.anima.coop), European Investment Bank (www.eib.org/femip), European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu) and Invest in Med (www.invest-in-med.eu)

ANIMA Investment Network

ANIMA Investment Network is a multi-country platform supporting the economic development of the Mediterranean. The network brings together 80 government agencies and international networks in Europe and the Mediterranean countries. The aim of ANIMA is to encourage shared and sustainable economic development in the Mediterranean, in conjunction with Europe and the neighbouring countries. www.anima.coop

European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) was established by the Treaty of Rome in 1958 as the European Union’s long-term financing institution. Its remit is to help meet the objectives of the European Union. Accordingly the EIB continuously adapts its activities as the policies of the EU evolve. In the Mediterranean region the EIB operates through its Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP). Its main two objectives are support for the private sector and the creation of an investment-friendly environment by means of efficient infrastructure and appropriate financial systems. www.eib.org/femip

European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry

The mission of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry is to promote the sustainable competitiveness of EU enterprises and industries. In line with the Europe 2020 strategy’s aims of smart and sustainable growth, DG Enterprise and Industry has set out five general objectives for its work: to strengthen the competitiveness of Europe’s industrial base and promote the transition to a low-carbon economy; to promote innovation as a means of generating new sources of growth and meeting society’s needs; to encourage the creation and growth of SMEs and promote a new entrepreneurial culture; to ensure an open internal market for goods; and to support the European presence in space. www.ec.europa.eu/enterprise

Invest in Med 

The Invest in Med programme is intended to develop sustainable business relationships, investments and business partnerships between the two rims of the Mediterranean. Three quarters of its funding for the period 2008-2011 comes from the European Union (European Commission’s Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid). The programme is implemented by the MedAlliance consortium, which brings together economic development organisations (ANIMA, leader of the programme), chambers of commerce and industry (ASCAME, EUROCHAMBRES) and business federations (BUSINESSMED). With the members of these networks, as well as their special partners (UNIDO, GTZ, EPA Euroméditerranée, World Bank, etc.), a thousand economic actors are mobilised through pilot initiatives focusing on promising niche areas in the Mediterranean. Each year the 27 countries of the European Union and their nine southern partners (the MED-9 countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria and Tunisia) are involved in around a hundred operations on the ground. www.invest-in-med.eu