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We promote product development and export

The application round is open in the service, where small and medium-sized enterprises can engage experts towards different target markets around the world:

  • Involving company’s own expert – if the company has found a suitable expert whose help they want to use, it is possible to enter the service in the direction of all countries of the world.
  • Expert search – For Sweden, Norway, Germany, Japan and the United Arab Emirates it is also possible to use expert search. In this case, Enterprise Estonia will assist in finding precisely the right professional who is familiar with the company’s field and can provide advice according to its specific needs and the requirements of the target market.

The service can be used in the fields of product development and export.

Submission of applications for the 2024 round opens on February 14th and lasts until May 31st or until the budget limit has been met.

Name
Involving international experts
Price
Co-payment 50% of the expert's fee, maximum grant amount 10,000 euros
Date
14. February - 31. May 2024

Is this service for your company?

  • For small and medium-sized enterprises with the ambition and capability to enter new markets, expand there, or develop internationally competitive products.
  • The company must have a clear plan for the problem they wish to solve with the help of an expert.
  • When applying, a company can choose one target market. At a time, a company can participate in the service with a maximum of two different projects (two different target countries and two different experts).
  • The company must meet at least one of the following conditions: have export revenue of at least €50,000, total revenue of at least €200,000, or have an innovative product to export according to the Oslo Manual.
  • The company has no tax debt and is not a company in difficulty.
  • Companies cannot apply in the following areas of activity.
  • Using the service is a de minimis aid for the company.
See what your company's VTA balance is

Terms and conditions of the service

  • The service can be used by the company in two ways:
    • The company wishes to use the expert search service;
    • The company enters the service with its own expert.
  • The service can be used in the fields of product development and export.
  • The company has the opportunity to use the expert for up to 12 months from the signing of the trilateral agreement between the company, the expert, and the Enterprise Estonia procurement partner. The work with the expert must be completed no later than October 31, 2025.
  • EAS compensates the company for 50% of the expert’s fee, but no more than 10,000 euros (excluding VAT) per expert.
  • The company pays its own contribution by providing a 50% advance payment of the expert’s fee. This is the company’s own contribution to the service, which is used to make payments to the expert. The own contribution can be paid in installments.
  • Application for the service is carried out in application rounds (approximately two rounds per year).
  • EAS has the right to close or suspend the service if the funding budget is reached.

Stage I

Duration about 1 month

  • The company applies for the service on the EAS website, providing a detailed description of their need for an expert. In case of entering the service with own expert, also sends an expert’s written consent to participate in the service (instructions can be found here)
  • EAS checks the company’s eligibility for the service (de minimis aid (VTA), excluded sectors, etc.).
  • EAS sends a request to its framework agreement partners to search for an expert and/or manage the project. An EAS framework agreement partner will manage the project.
  • EAS approves the company for the service (based on the commission’s decision) and matches them with the framework agreement partner.

Stage II

If a company enters the service with expert search:

Duration up to 5 months

  • Within one week of confirming the company to the service, the procurement partner specifies the profile presented with the company (physical or virtual meeting) in order to understand any problems, introduce the terms and conditions of the service and further work course (including invoicing) to the company and agree on the following activities to achieve the desired results.
  • The procurement partner will search for an expert who matches the company’s profile within a maximum of 5 months. Key elements of this service are expectation management and collaboration. The more accurately and comprehensively the company can describe its need for an expert or the problematic area, the better we can find the right expert through collaboration.
  • The company confirms a suitable expert in writing.
  • The procurement partner arranges a meeting between the company and the expert (either physical or virtual) to ensure that both the company and the expert have a clear understanding of the service conditions and the further workflow. During the meeting, the company and the expert agree on the scope of work (number of working hours), duration, list of tasks and specific results, cost of work, and payment terms.
  • After the meeting, a trilateral agreement is concluded between the procurement partner, the company, and the expert, which describes the agreements, payment terms, the rights and obligations of the parties, and the billing process. The trilateral agreement must be concluded no later than 5.5 months after the company’s confirmation in the service by EAS, otherwise, EAS has the right to cancel the company’s participation in the service.

If the company enters the service with its own expert:

Duration up to 3 months

  • Within one week of confirming the company to the service, the procurement partner specifies the profile presented with the company (physical or virtual meeting) in order to understand any problems, introduce the terms and conditions of the service and further work course (including invoicing) to the company and agree on the following activities to achieve the desired results.
  • The company submits the expert’s CV and the procurement partner verifies the proposed expert’s compliance with the given requirements.
  • After the meeting, a trilateral agreement is concluded between the procurement partner, the company, and the expert, which describes the agreements, payment terms, the rights and obligations of the parties, and the billing process. The trilateral agreement must be concluded no later than 3 months after the company’s confirmation in the service by EAS, otherwise, EAS has the right to cancel the company’s participation in the service.

Stage III

  • The company pays its share of financing (50% of the expert’s fee) to the EAS procurement partner as an advance payment. The company’s financing remains in deposit with the procurement partner until the work has been completed by the expert and accepted by the company (detailed payment schedule is determined in the trilateral agreement).
  • The company and the expert start working according to the contract.
  • The expert submits interim reports (maximum of 3) on the work done so far, and the company confirms the work done.
  • The expert submits invoices to the EAS procurement partner for the work performed according to the payment schedule agreed upon in the trilateral agreement.
  • The expert submits a final report, which includes a list of the work done, results, further recommendations to the company, and copies of the invoices.
  • The company provides feedback to EAS; end of the service.

Project journey

Duration about 1 month

  • The company applies for the service on the EAS website, providing a detailed description of their need for an expert. In case of entering the service with own expert, also sends an expert’s written consent to participate in the service (instructions can be found here)
  • EAS checks the company’s eligibility for the service (de minimis aid (VTA), excluded sectors, etc.).
  • EAS sends a request to its framework agreement partners to search for an expert and/or manage the project. An EAS framework agreement partner will manage the project.
  • EAS approves the company for the service (based on the commission’s decision) and matches them with the framework agreement partner.

If a company enters the service with expert search:

Duration up to 5 months

  • Within one week of confirming the company to the service, the procurement partner specifies the profile presented with the company (physical or virtual meeting) in order to understand any problems, introduce the terms and conditions of the service and further work course (including invoicing) to the company and agree on the following activities to achieve the desired results.
  • The procurement partner will search for an expert who matches the company’s profile within a maximum of 5 months. Key elements of this service are expectation management and collaboration. The more accurately and comprehensively the company can describe its need for an expert or the problematic area, the better we can find the right expert through collaboration.
  • The company confirms a suitable expert in writing.
  • The procurement partner arranges a meeting between the company and the expert (either physical or virtual) to ensure that both the company and the expert have a clear understanding of the service conditions and the further workflow. During the meeting, the company and the expert agree on the scope of work (number of working hours), duration, list of tasks and specific results, cost of work, and payment terms.
  • After the meeting, a trilateral agreement is concluded between the procurement partner, the company, and the expert, which describes the agreements, payment terms, the rights and obligations of the parties, and the billing process. The trilateral agreement must be concluded no later than 5.5 months after the company’s confirmation in the service by EAS, otherwise, EAS has the right to cancel the company’s participation in the service.

If the company enters the service with its own expert:

Duration up to 3 months

  • Within one week of confirming the company to the service, the procurement partner specifies the profile presented with the company (physical or virtual meeting) in order to understand any problems, introduce the terms and conditions of the service and further work course (including invoicing) to the company and agree on the following activities to achieve the desired results.
  • The company submits the expert’s CV and the procurement partner verifies the proposed expert’s compliance with the given requirements.
  • After the meeting, a trilateral agreement is concluded between the procurement partner, the company, and the expert, which describes the agreements, payment terms, the rights and obligations of the parties, and the billing process. The trilateral agreement must be concluded no later than 3 months after the company’s confirmation in the service by EAS, otherwise, EAS has the right to cancel the company’s participation in the service.

  • The company pays its share of financing (50% of the expert’s fee) to the EAS procurement partner as an advance payment. The company’s financing remains in deposit with the procurement partner until the work has been completed by the expert and accepted by the company (detailed payment schedule is determined in the trilateral agreement).
  • The company and the expert start working according to the contract.
  • The expert submits interim reports (maximum of 3) on the work done so far, and the company confirms the work done.
  • The expert submits invoices to the EAS procurement partner for the work performed according to the payment schedule agreed upon in the trilateral agreement.
  • The expert submits a final report, which includes a list of the work done, results, further recommendations to the company, and copies of the invoices.
  • The company provides feedback to EAS; end of the service.

Choosing a suitable expert

The more detailed and clear the task, the better the result. When explaining the problem, it should be described as precisely as possible at what stage the company is at, what are the obstacles and where it wants to go.

Choose a competent experienced expert according to your company’s bottleneck and set the focus exactly. An expert cannot solve all the problems of the company. For example, an expert in the field of management can help with management consulting, planning the company’s export strategy, business development and change management in the company. A market- or sector-specific expert is indispensable in organising sales and marketing, finding partners and suppliers, solving problems related to product development and production or logistics. And the role of an analyst is to conduct and analyse market research.

The expert must comply with at least the minimum requirements set out by Enterprise Estonia:

  • Minimum requirements for a product development expert: At least 36 months of work experience in the target market (according to the target market chosen by the company) in the field of product development in the role of product development expert, engineer, architect, designer, design manager or other product development, retroactively in the last 60 months from the confirmation of the company to the service by Enterprise Estonia.
  • Minimum requirements for an expert in the field of export: At least 36 months of work experience in the target market (according to the target market chosen by the company) in a position related to export development (e.g. export manager, sales manager, etc.), retroactively within the last 60 months from the confirmation of the company to the service by Enterprise Estonia.
  • More precise criteria for an expert are set by the company, who makes a final validation between the candidates and confirms the most suitable expert for itself.
  • An expert can be a specialist with knowledge and skills or a business consultant. Preferably, the expert knows the specific field of activity of the company.
  • The expert may not be in a contractual relationship with the participating company or work in the consortium of the company during the use of the service.
  • If a company enters the service with its own expert, the company must have already been in contact with the expert in the past and have described the nature of the problem, and the company must have written expert consent to participate in the service.
  • One expert (person) can be a maximum of 10 company experts in the service, starting from the reopening of the service on May 2, 2023.
  • The task of the expert is to assess the input provided by the company, to agree on the volume and price of the works and to advise the company in the agreed volume and manner within the framework of the agreed works.
  • If the average feedback assessment of the companies that involved the same expert is the expert and/or the work done by the expert is 8 points or less on a 10-point scale (if 10 means “very good”), then Enterprise Estonia has the right to stop cooperating with the expert.
  • Payments to the expert are made according to the payment schedule agreed upon in the trilateral agreement.

Do you prefer experts working in a large consulting firm or a freelance expert? Both have their advantages, but also their risks. Large consultancies have more resources, which often means a wider knowledge and experience base. At the same time, the company often communicates with only one expert, and the success of the project depends on its knowledge and skills.

Freelance experts are often more committed to their clients and projects. They can offer greater flexibility and a better price than larger consultancies. The risk is that the knowledge base of freelance experts is usually narrower, but sometimes what they offer can be just what the company needs.

In addition to large consultancies and freelance experts, there are also various professional associations, business organisations (e.g. EAS, chambers of commerce) and networks from which help can be obtained, from cooperation opportunities to advisory and mediation services. Websites of consulting companies, LinkedIn, various roundtables and recommendations from other companies also help.

Before selecting a suitable expert, it is recommended to meet with the expert, either face-to-face or as a video call. At the meeting, you will receive feedback on the objectives and details of the process in order to change your plans if necessary. In addition, the first impression is made of the expert as a person, his or her suitability and ability. It is important to take into account his personal characteristics when choosing an expert. In the case of long-term or strategic projects, it is especially important that the expert thinks in the same direction as the company and that there is a common understanding of the goal. Softer features, such as overall impressions and personal suitability, are difficult to compare, but they often play an important role in the success of a project. If at the meeting it turns out that the expert does not meet expectations, it is better to start looking for a new expert.

To achieve the best result and the most optimal price, it is definitely worth taking several offers from different service providers. In addition to economic savings, it also gives a good overview of consultants operating in the market. When comparing offers, the realistic nature of the action plan, pricing and contract terms should be taken into account.

In addition to following the criteria, it is also worth taking into account subjective or softer characteristics when making a final decision – for example, the general impression and personal suitability of the consultant.

If an expert has made an offer and it is suitable for the company, a written contract should be concluded between the parties. This may also be an offer sent by e-mail, which is approved by the company and where the purpose of the project, the action plan, the schedule, the results to be achieved, the volume of work, the price and other conditions are fixed due to the need. When the contract is concluded, the expert begins to work on the project.

In order for the project to run smoothly and achieve the goals, some general principles should also be followed within the company, such as internal communication from the involvement of an expert, in order to ensure the information and satisfaction of the team. It is important to define the exact schedule and measurable results, agree on the details of regular information exchange and reporting, and finally, the details of summarising the project.

What's going to change in my company?

new knowledge and tailor-made products for the target market

faster sales in foreign markets

increase in export income

Service partners and additional information

Our partners in implementing the international expert engagement service are:

Eesti Kaubandus-Tööstuskoda

Saksa-Balti Kaubanduskoda

Nifor

 

The service is co-financed by the European Union Regional Development Fund.

Contact

Contact

Ille Metsla
Project Manager