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Enterprise policy and tourism

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BRE (Business Cooperation Center)

Support for the international cooperation of SMEs

Official title

"Business Cooperation Centre - BRE"


Promote cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises at the international level. The BRE is the first instrument that the Commission of the European Communities introduced to help SMEs identify potential partners in another country.

Target public / beneficiaries

SMEs located in the Member States of the European Union and in a number of third countries.

In October 1997, the BRE was represented in all the Member States of the European Union and in the following countries:
Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Gaza Strip/West Bank, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chili, China, Cyprus, Colombia, Korea, Costa Rica,Cuba, Egypt, Ecuador,Estonia, Georgia,Guatemala,Honduras, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Morocco, Mexico, Moldava, Monaco, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Salvador,Slovakia, Slovenia,South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Thailande,Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Uzbekistan, Venezuela,...


The BRE is placed under the responsibility of Directorate General XXIII (Enterprise Policy, Trade, Tourism and Social Economy), Unit B.2.

The BRE operates on the basis of a network of "correspondents" - private, public or semi-public bodies - spread throughout the European Union and in a number of third countries (see above). The Commission is responsible for the network's coordination.

The tasks of the correspondents are the following:

  • promotion of the BRE and assistance for enterprises seeking a partner at the transregional, transnational or international level
  • dissemination of business opportunities forwarded by the BRE;
  • participation of activities linked to the network's coordination.

Eligible measures / nature of activities

Search for partner(s) in the technical, commercial or financial field.


The enterprise interested in cooperating with an SME located in another country sends a cooperation profile (CP) to the central unit of the BRE. This profile must include general information on the enterprise (identification, activities, turnover, number of employees, bank references, etc.), the description of the cooperation sought and the list of countries in which it wants to find a partner.

The central unit registers the characteristics of the request, prepares an advertisement according to the data contained in the CP and makes it available to the correspondents concerned who largely disseminate it to a number of economic operators.

When a company is interested by an advertisement, it contacts the correspondent concerned or directly contacts the central unit of the BRE to obtain the contact details and the CP of the enterprise that offered the opportunity.

Nature of financial support

Broad dissemination of cooperation offers and requests. The correspondent or correspondents concerned use: specialized journals, magazines, newsletters, databases, etc.

The use of the BRE is free of charge.

There is no restriction regarding the number of opportunities of cooperation sent by an enterprise.

The BRE does not grant any financial subsidy.


The validity of each opportunity is limited to 6 months; an extension of 6 months is possible.

Characteristics of the system

The BRE is characterized by:

  • a large dissemination of cooperation opportunities;
  • the possibility of direct access by enterprises;
  • broad geographical coverage.

Information offices or additional sources of information

BRE Central Unit:
European Commission
Directorate General XXIII
80, rue d'Arlon
Bureau 6/70
B-1049 Brussels
T.: +32 2 295 91 17
F.: +32 2 296 42 71

last update: 10/97

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