Interview with David Foy, Head of International Business Development - Digital Economy, Luxinnovation
Europe is an intriguing marketplace representing nearly 22% of the world’s GDP. It has a rich and versatile cultural heritage, buzzing economy and Europe offers nearly endless opportunities for overseas businesses.
But it’s not all that simple. Europe also consists of 27 different countries just in the European Union, that all have their distinctive cultures and languages. Aside from navigating business landscapes and national regulations, businesses must also comply with policies set by the European Union. Needless to say, success in one country does not necessarily guarantee success in another.
The Korean ecosystem is very diversified in general whereas European diversification is also fragmented and linked to geographic territory coupled with tech hubs.
So what are the most important things for a Korean business to consider when considering entry into European markets?
We asked David Foy, Head of International Business Development for Digital Economy at Luxinnovation, the organisation most engaged in initiatives tied to Luxembourg to foster innovation domestically and attract it from abroad in support of the Government’s economic development objectives.
1. Be prepared to show a track-record. In order to get started in Europe, it is good to come to the table with more than just an MVP. It’s recommended to be able to show a variety of customer cases from South Korea (and from other countries, if applicable). This will help the potential partners in Europe to better appreciate the possibilities of the innovation.
2. Get an understanding of the EU marketplace. Europe is a versatile marketplace and each country has its particular characteristics. National policies and legislation define the individual markets but also affect consumer behaviour. It’s vital to understand what drives potential customers and where to find them.
3. Understand the regulations that affect your innovation. Regulations around data privacy and device certification (such as for healthtech) are a major consideration. There are also both European Union and national level legislation that regulate the use of any chemicals and before being able to move forward with projects including them, it is crucial to have the product approved by authorities.
4. Consider the local culture and language. Practically every country within European Union has its own language, and its own distinct culture. In order to develop a presence in several countries, be prepared to not only translate the communication, but to also adapt the content to local markets culturally.
5. Actually getting started will take time and resources. Without a strong financial footing, companies will face difficulties to set up and grow. The administration of getting residential and business permits will take some time; if you are willing to send one of your employees to Europe, the cost of living needs to be taken into account - or be prepared to outsource the administrative procedures.
Even if the above perspectives may sound daunting, David Foy would like to assure that it’s obviously not a mission impossible. Many countries, Luxembourg included, have both governmental (such as Luxinnovation) and private organisations that are prepared to support and help you get started.
Europe is ready and waiting. Take the first step.
Luxinnovation offers a wide portfolio of services to companies and public research organisations in order to foster innovation, thus supporting the Government’s economic development objectives. The agency also ensures that Luxembourg continues to attract international investment, companies and skills that are a perfect fit for the country.
Luxinnovation experts, David Foy included, help companies from abroad by answering their questions and helping them get going in Europe.