PERES Continues Through S-ACCESS Project

Partnership that implemented original PERES project continues to build up internationalization capabilities of European SME sector via another project, S-ACCESS – SMEs ACCESS to international public procurements.

Funded under the COSME programme of the EU – Call « COS-PPOUT-2020-2-03, the project is coordinated by DITECFER (the Railway Technologies cluster in Italy) and has as partners the railway clusters i-Trans (France), Rail.S (Germany), Järnvägsklustret (Sweden), MAFEX (Spain), RCSEE (Serbia and Southeast Europe) and Rail Alliance (United Kingdom).

The partners, in fact, are fully committed to take their internationalisation services to a higher level, focusing on new approaches to help their SME members overcome a set of obstacles (organisational, technical, legal, financial…) they face when attempting to participate in international public procurements.

The target countries of the S-ACCESS project are USA, Canada and Norway.

The project will last 36 months (from 1st July 2021 to 30 June 2024) and is divided in two phases:

1) Preparatory Phase lasting 15 months, where the partners will develop solutions for each type of obstacle;

2) an Implementation Phase lasting 21 months, where the partners will test their strategy and assist the SMEs on the field.

More information can be found at the S-ACCESS project website


PERES Presentation on TRAKO fair

The members of PERES consortium today held a presentation of the PERES project on the Berlin – Brandenburg booth on TRAKO railway trade show in Gdansk (Poland).

Mareike Walter from BTS Rail Saxony and Eli Rees-King from Rail Alliance present all past stages of the PERES project and underlined the first results and key findings. They announce further PERES activities as well such as preparation for lunching new business study mission to India and considering of options for similar missions to China and Japan in the future.

Present managers of companies also engaged in conversation and brought out theirs points of view about possibilities for going outside Europe. Members of PERES team in conclusion pointed out that PERES 2 project is also in preparation phase and that is very important for European SME’s that EU structures and officials understand as crucial opening of alternative channels for supporting of SME’s outside Europe promotion and networking. Only through joint efforts of rail clusters and their SME members with support of EU from behind will be possible to present the innovativity, engineering excellence and creativity of European rail industry on satisfying level.


PERES Team Shares Training Program on Fundamental Elements for Internationalisation Strategy, Project Management and Organisational aspects

One of the results of PERES project was drafting of a Training Program on Fundamental elements for Internationalisation Strategy, Project Management and Organisational aspects.

This document, prepared for cluster managers to further assist their organizations and their member SMEs to go international.

The training program may be downloaded here (pdf)

First Phase of PERES Concludes in Brussels

The first phase of “PERES – Promoting European Railway Excellence outside EU” project concluded at an event in the Atrium14 business center in Brussels, gathering railway industry professionals from all over Europe. Running under the umbrella of European Union’s COSME programme, the PERES European Strategic Cluster Partnership (ESCP-4i) composed of five railway clusters from Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom and Southeast Europe explored the needs and potentials of the European SME industry in the railway sector, and set up a framework for internationalization to the non-European markets.

The project started in January 2018, and has analyzed over 250 small- and medium-sized companies in the railway industry from 10 European countries, seeking to create pan-European supply value chains,  locate potential solutions that can be successfully implemented in non-European markets, and identify the issues, the desired target countries and the type of support that European SMEs need in order to successfully offer their products and services on non-European markets.

Based on the analysis of the SME cluster members’ potentials, the project selected the United States and India as suitable targets for placement of products and services. A pilot study trip to USA was organized in March 2019, meeting in three States representatives of select US railway operators, as well as manufacturers, educational institutions and research centers related to the railway industry. The study trip identified the needs and the specifics of the US railway market, in order to find the potential areas that could be addressed by the European SMEs.

“What we have seen is that the railway sector in the US faces many challenges – and that it is ready to innovate and improve in order to address them” says Veronica Elena Bocci, PERES project coordinator. “The important thing is that European SMEs understand these challenges and have the know-how to address them in a reliable, innovative, competitive and punctual manner. In the US ‘time is money’ is a fundamental criteria for collaborations, and flexibility SMEs have can give answer to this”.

Her optimism is shared by other members of the project team. “European railway industry has gone a long way toward having reliable, safe and environmentally-friendly transport” says Marko Radovic, partner of the PERES project, and continues: “Our SMEs’ solutions are highly interesting to US operators that seek to make railways a more attractive mode of transport for passengers”.

Based on the project’s findings, a strategic framework was drafted in order to support the internationalization of the European SME railway industry. Such initiatives, however, depend heavily on further integration and cooperation within the industry itself and the support of the European institutions. “Today, cooperation in the industry is necessary in order to stay competitive” explains Dirk-Ulrich Krüger from cluster BTS Rail Saxony and ERCI Spokesperson: “Through our European Railway Clusters Initiative (ERCI) we seek to connect companies and support them in joint research and development programmes, strengthen their cooperation and support them in their activities throughout and outside Europe, such as the PERES project”.

The presentation of the project results and upcoming plans was followed by a panel discussion on trade collaboration between the EU and the US. The panelists Carlo Borgini (JU Shift2Rail), Peter Czaga (European Commission DG GROW), Nicolas Furio (UNIFE), Margaret Mulligan (ENRICH in the USA) and Sharon L Stead (State of Illinois Europan Office) all gave their views on SME involvement in the trade collaboration between the EU and the US, as well as how their institutions could support the process.


Format Title
PERES Final Event Press Release


Eli Rees-King Interview for Rail Professional

(photo source: Railway Professional)

In an extensive interview given to the UK business magazine Rail Professional, one of the partners on the PERES project, Eli Rees-King talked about the increasing importance of internationalization and how PERES project aims to address the needs of SMEs in the railway sector.

The extensive interview touches on the activities of Rail Alliance to support the internationalization of its members, the role of European Railway Clusters Initiative (ERCI), as well as the activities undertaken on the PERES project.

“Each meeting provided a new and important insight into the US market and, importantly, valuable connections. We are very close to concluding the project and a meeting will be taking place in the next couple of weeks before the final presentation of results in Brussels on 25 June 2019. This has been a true collaboration of specialists and after many hours of research, SME engagement, reports, and presentations.” said Ms Rees-King for Rail Professional.

Full interview can be found here.

PERES Steering Committee at ERCI Meeting in Birmingham

Last steering committee meeting on the PERES project before the conclusion of the first phase was held at the ERCI meeting hosted by UK’s Rail Alliance cluster.

The main points of the agenda were the analysis of information and lessons learned during the pilot study trip to the USA. Based on the findings of the mission, cluster managers drafted a preliminary version of Internationalization Strategy for SMEs to go international. The strategy will be presented in Brussels at the PERES project concluding event.

Elfi Electronics Judges PERES Mission as “Extremely Interesting”

One of the SMEs that sent representatives on the PERES study trip, Elfi electronics wrote a report on their activities as a part of European delegation.

“An extremely interesting journey – commented Leonardo Fabbri, CEO of ELFI electronics, returning from the trip -: there are opportunities for collaboration, given that American companies are looking for solutions that we in Europe have already come up with.

Full text can be read at ELFI electronics website.

Inventory of the best Clusters and ESCPs Methodologies and Tools for Internationalization of SMEs

The PERES project (“Promoting European Rail Excellence outSide EU”) is a ESCP-4i – European Strategic Cluster Partnership of the Second Generation (2018-2019) in the Preparation Phase – Strand 1, aiming to deliver a Joint Internationalization Plan and Implementation Roadmap for the SMEs of the European Rail Supply Chain members of our Clusters.

For this we considered important to map, gather, analyse and benchmark key achievements and methodologies, tools and practices implemented by:
(A) the First Generation (2016-2017) of ESCP-4i in the Preparation Phase
(B) the First Generation (2016-2017) of ESCP-4i in the Implementation Phase
(C) the Second Generation (2018-2019) of ESCP-4i in the Implementation Phase as long as they are available
in order to create an Inventory of Clusters’ and ESCPs’ best practices for internationalization that can be helpful both to our ESCP-4i and to the next Generations of Partnerships.
The source for this information is the ECCP-European Cluster Collaboration Portal.

Together with the Inventory dedicated to the general internationalization tools and practices, the Deliverable also maps, gathers, analyses and benchmarks:
(A) internationalization methodologies, tools and practices from ESCP-4i specifically directed to the 2 geographical areas where PERES addresses its activities: USA and India
(B) internationalization methodologies, tools and practices from PERES partners concerning USA and India, if existing.
The purpose is to verify if specific methodologies and tools have been designed and implemented by our Peers when targeting 2 so different countries in terms of culture, business habits, business environment, etc..


The Inventory may be downloaded here