Unique EU-funded training programme prepares European managers and companies for doing business in Japan and Korea

Buoyed by the current ambitious EU trade strategy to further open Korean and Japanese markets to EU companies, European businesses are increasingly considering their export options to these Asian economic power houses. To capture growth opportunities in this region, in-house expertise is a crucial factor for success. For this, European companies are benefitting from a unique EU-funded training programme to prepare and expand their business in Japan and Korea. The Executive Training Programme (ETP) helps European companies and managers to develop their business plan for the Far East and build knowledge of Japanese or Korean business practices, culture and language, as well as extend their networks in order to succeed in these complex markets.

The Executive Training Programme is a unique opportunity for European managers and companies to expand their businesses activities in Japan and Korea through business and language training, an internship in a local company, and support for the development of their business plan. The EU funds the entire programme and provides a scholarship throughout for each participant.

The 2012/2013 group of 45 participants from 13 EU member states have just delivered their final business plan presentations in Japanese and Korean and celebrated the graduation of the programme in Tokyo or Seoul respectively.

On the occasion of the graduation ceremony, Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, Ambassador of the European Union to Japan said:

Investment in human resources is a key strategy from the EU side in our policy to enter the Japanese market. Knowledge of Japanese business practices and committed people are what make the difference when working in this market – a fast-moving consumer market, and also one of the toughest and most advanced in the world.

This is confirmed by this year’s ETP Japan graduate, German Joerg Heil from Aluplast, responsible for his company’s sales in Japan:

Having a person in Japan can make all the difference, you are invited to a lot of events where you usually don't get access and can network. As well you gain first-hand experience in Japan.,”

Paolo Caridi, head of the Trade Section of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea said:

“ETP is very well-known for the quality of the EU executives who are trained to develop their business or expand their activities in Korea. You are and will be recognised as a pool of experts about Korean business. ETP gives a real branding and is a guarantee of quality for your company and in your career.”

ETP Korea graduate, Hungarian Várady Zsolt, Business Development Manager at Evopro acknowledges the importance of having background knowledge in order to pursue business opportunities in Korea:

“Korea has a very strong economy that offers a lot of business potential but it is difficult to find them without local connections. My company considered that the ETP represented a great opportunity to build a network in Korea and expand our business activities to the Korean market.”

Almost simultaneously, the group of 2013/2014 participants have just been welcomed to the Programme for the 3-week introductory course in London. A striking feature of this year’s intake is the relatively high number of participants from small and medium sized firms. Given the current economic climate, the programme is of particular interest to such companies.

The ETP begins with a three-week introduction at the School of Oriental and African studies, London University, where participants learn about the East Asian economy, history, culture and modern society. Following this, participants move to Japan or Korea for a 30-week business, management and language training run by leading universities in Tokyo and Seoul. Participants then get a unique opportunity to apply their newly acquired skills and knowledge in practice during a 12-week internship in a local company. The EU funds the entire training course and provides a scholarship for each participant of €26,400 a year for Japan and €24,000 for Korea.

The European Commission is now accepting candidates for the 2014/2015 cycle of the programme. EU managers and their sponsor companies can apply by submitting an online application via The deadline for applications is May 15th 2014. The training cycle will run from November 2014 to November 2015.

ETP is open for EU nationals working for European companies with an annual turnover above €500.000 and more than five employees and who are interested in launching or expanding their activities in Japan or Korea.

To date the ETP has helped more than 1,000 executives and 800 companies to succeed in Japan and Korea by overcoming language and cultural barriers in these countries.

The success and impact of the ETP is significant. A survey of ETP participants showed that more than 65% of ETP alumni become top executives within their companies, and that the participant companies’ related turnover with Japan or Korea increased two fold within ten years of completing the ETP, and the programme has been enhanced to best meet the needs of today’s managers and companies.

Note to editors
A dedicated Webinar to explain the ETP will take place on Thursday 5th December 2013, from 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM CET. It will present trade opportunities with Japan and Korea, the benefits of participating in the ETP, as well as the testimonial of a successful ETP alumnus. More information and registration at: 

About The Executive Training Programme
ETP is a business and human resources development programme financed by the European Union. ETP enables EU companies and their executives to develop their business plan and build knowledge of Japanese/Korean business practices, culture and language to succeed in these markets. The way business is done in Japan and Korea is so vastly different to how it is done in Europe that EU companies and executives doing business there need to be provided with specialist skills and insights to succeed. Growing the number of EU companies operating in Japan and Korea is strategic for the European Commission.


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