Founded 1999 in Västerås through a kick-start program arranged by Västerås Science Park (at that time called Teknikbyn), YES International Group is a consultancy company specializing on China. Sandy Li, Li Shenzhi in Chinese, is the founder and CEO of YES, and have been bridging companies in Scandinavia and China during the last 20 years.
– I fly about 60 times a year and work across cultures, different business areas, and people. The diversity of my work and life gives me unique perspectives and brings new ideas for new business, which keeps me inspired all the time. YES have many exciting cases, and works with building teams of SMEs that create new capabilities in meeting big challenges, says Sandy Li.
YES entered a competition when SME2GO had an open call invitation, and got selected as the mentor to support SMEs in exporting and establishing business in China.
– We really enjoy working with the SME2GO platform!, says Sandy Li.
He explains that many SMEs need help, but don’t always know what for, or where to look for the right solutions.
– By gathering the SMEs on a platform like SME2GO, we can define the targets and needs very easy.
Small players, big market
Another common challenge is the company size, according to Sandy Li:
– Many SMEs have a unique product or solution for one specific area but are too small to play on the big market. China is complicated and it’s easy to fail.
As such, YES and SME2GO aims to combine the know-how and the strength from several SMEs, building strong collaborations, supporting them in working together as a team, and strengthen their collective offer.
– Without SME2GO, our core value cannot be transferred efficiently to the SMEs, says Sandy Li.
Science park companies extra interesting
Many SMEs lack confidence in entering the market, and almost all the them need support in doing so – but the possibilities for Nordic SMEs going to China is huge, according to Sandy Li.
– SMEs have their limitations, but they are more flexible than the large global players. We try to evaluate the core value of each SME and discuss different business possibilities with them. For instance, a company who tries to sell to China might need local partners and investors instead. In that case, it might be more efficient for an entrepreneur to work as a director and let the Chinese producer run sales.
Sandy Li explains that China can be an interesting test-bed to review business, verify the value you are delivering, and to get new business ideas.
– So even when we talk about the China market, our focus is on each SME and their individual business. I have been working in my little office in Västerås Science Park for almost 10 years, and I very much appreciate the environment for startups their, says Sandy Li and continues:
– I strongly recommend you keep an extra eye on the startup companies connected to local science parks in your city.
SME2GO is a EU funded growth project running between 2016-2018 with the aim to increase exports of smart city solutions from the Central Baltic region to new and expanding markets. SME2GO focus on increasing the cooperation between growth-oriented SMEs with solutions for smart cities and multinational enterprises to create synergies, new cross-border business opportunities, and export.
Project participants are offered networking opportunities, international marketing and sales training, matchmaking, market intelligence, and customized support. The project is a unique opportunity for innovative and growth-oriented companies to create business in new and expanding markets.