SMEs: Better access to finance and boosting entrepreneurship

Friday, 15 Jun 2012, 14:36


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On the occasion of the fourth meeting of the European SME envoys held in Malta today, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani announced a series of new initiatives and planned actions to improve access of SMEs to finance, to boost entrepreneurship and to go international.

To facilitate access to finance, the European Commission published today a practical guide providing information on how to access over €50 billion of public finance in the 27 Member States.  It presents over 120 national or regional financing programmes and provides key information helping SMEs to apply for the different programmes in terms of characteristics, terms, conditions and contact information.

Secondly the Commission launched a European wide training campaign for the Enterprise Europe Network to help SMEs get access to finance. SMEs can contact one of 600 Enterprise Europe Network partners, who will be able to provide information on EU and national sources of finance. Vice President Tajani will also discuss with the SME envoys possible elements for an entrepreneurship action plan which Mr Tajani aims to table after the summer break to encourage the creation of new businesses and jobs. The plan intends to address obstacles, which hinder would-be entrepreneurs to set up their own business. It will also include measures to make the option of becoming his or her own boss a more widespread option.

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for enterprise and industry policies, said today: "If we want to stimulate growth in Europe, it is from our SMEs that we must start. Entrepreneurial potential in Europe is not fully exploited: 45% of all Europeans would like to become their own boss if they could, but only an average of 10% are actually self-employed today. If we could raise this percentage, we could have millions of new innovative and creative enterprises which would rejuvenate Europe’s economic basis, make it more robust, more job-generating and more resilient to stormy economic".

At the same time the Commission published an evaluation of public financing programmes in 5 Member States (Germany, France, the UK, Poland and Sweden) to exchange good practice and assess which programmes work best and could be used in other countries.  The evaluation highlights that public financing programmes need to have a clear scope and be flexible so that there can be changes if required such as during the present economic crisis.

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