Support for SMEs

8 02 2008

The past two weeks have seen a number of significant announcements concerning support and funding for SMEs.  The Enterprise Europe Network was officially launched yesterday, combining the strengths of the previous Euro Info Centres with those of the Innovation Relay Centres. Under the slogan ‘Business Support on Your Doorstep’, the Enterprise Europe Network will offer a range of services: assisting companies in going international; help with innovation, new products and opportunities in the single market; accessing EU projects and funding; and providing feedback to the Commission.  It comprises more than 500 contact points and over 4,000 experienced staff, making it the largest business support network in the continent.

The EUROSTARS programme, for R&D-driven SMEs, is to be co-financed to the tune of €100 million by the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7) , and the 22 participating EU Member States and five Associated Countries will jointly provide another €300 million.  Meanwhile a new €60 million fund has been set up to support Ireland’s small and medium sized enterprises, operated by Enterprise Ireland, and plans for a £150m investment fund for small businesses in Wales have been announced by the Assembly Government

Finally, the Welsh Enterprise Institute has been awarded the contract to undertake one of the UK’s largest studies of small businesses. Commissioned by the Federation of Small Businesses, this biennial survey produces the definitive guide to the state of small business across the country and is one of the largest non-government business surveys in the UK.




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