08 March 2011

A helping hand for offshore IT service providers from the Government of The Netherlands


Small-, and medium sized offshore IT service providers often need assistance to enter the European market. That assistance is provided by CBI - Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (www.cbi.eu).

What is CBI?

The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) was established in 1971. CBI is an Agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and part of the development cooperation effort of the Netherlands.

What does CBI do?

CBI is the expert in export development and export promotion from developing countries. CBI helps companies to enter the EU market or expand their market share there. To achieve this CBI offers various services and products to companies, business support organisations and government authorities.

CBI provides market information, export coaching, training and BSO development services in many market sectors and countries. CBI also creates its own market surveys, market alerts and provides information about market access requirements as well as marketing guidelines.

What does all that have to do with offshore IT outsourcing?

Among several others CBI has an IT Outsourcing Export Coaching Program (ITO ECP) and also a Knowledge Process Outsourcing ECP covering 8 countries (Armenia, Bangladesh, Colombia, Moldova, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. The programs last 4 – 5 years, so companies are assisted during this period of time. Presently about 60 companies participate in the ITO and KPO ECP.

What assistance is provided in the ITO/KPO ECP?

Each program has 3, somewhat overlapping, phases:
  1. Application and selection
  2. Assistance and training
  3. Market entry
We have a well defined methodology and tools we use during each phase. Beside consulting and coaching market information and market research is also provided. During the market entry phase we assist and help companies to carry out various marketing activities in Europe, attend conferences, trade fairs and other events, but we also provide expertise on optimizing web sites, SEO and web based promotion. Quality certification efforts are also supported.

At www.euroitx.com company profiles are registered and a large repository of web resources are maintained. About 400 web resources on IT outsourcing are monitored on daily basis. A bi-monthly e-newsletter is also sent out to about 3500 subscribers.

What training is available in the ITO/KPO program?

  • EXPRO: marketing and selling IT services in Europe
  • Intercultural communication, negotiations and how to present your company in Europe
  • Legal issues, contracting and intellectual property protection
  • Participating at technology trade events
  • How to manage offshore IT outsourcing projects

How can I join the ITO/KPO program?

  • Your country must be on the list of countries where CBI can work. See http://www.cbi.eu/?pag=55&nid=861
  • The CBI ITO/KPO ECP is available in your country. If your country is on the list of countries CBI can support but we do not have an ITO/KPO ECP yet in your country, contact the national software association, department of trade and industry, Chamber of Commerce or similar business support organisation in your country to approach CBI.
  • Your company must meet the CBI pre-selection criteria for the program. See http://www.cbi.eu/?pag=26

However, before considering to join the ITO/KPO ECP you should ask yourself a very important question:

“Would you start marketing your IT services in Europe on your own without the help of CBI?”

Well, if the answer is “YES” and the above conditions are met, most probably we shall see each other during the Export Audit meeting…

How much does the participation cost?