Budget

Main funding sources

Main funding sources

COSME, a special programme for SMEs

COSME stands for Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Managed by the European Commission, it is a new programme specifically designed to support SMEs. COSME aims to improve SMEs’ access to finance and markets, support entrepreneurs and promote better conditions for business creation and growth.

The programme facilitates and improves SMEs’ access to finance through two financial instruments:

  • The Loan Guarantee Facility;
  • The Equity Facility for Growth.

COSME is managed by the Commission through the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (EASME) .

EU-backed small business loans

Support for entrepreneurs and businesses is available through a wide range of EU programmes, via local financial institutions. The “Access to finance” Web portal helps find EU financing for projects such as loans, guarantees, equity funding and many others.

Transport, energy and ICT

SMEs are also eligible for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, which finances projects to fill the missing links in the EU’s energy, transport and digital networks. Eligibility rules are set out in each call for proposals. The Commission manages CEF funding directly through the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) .

Research and innovation

SMEs can participate in the new EU research programme Horizon 2020 (H2020) in the following areas:

  • ‘Industrial leadership’: Innovation in SMEs
  • The Sustainable Industry Low Carbon Scheme (SILC II)
  • Part of the ‘Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies’ dimension of H2020
  • ‘Societal challenges’: The energy efficiency part of the challenge ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy’;
  • Calls for proposals on waste, water innovation and sustainable supply of raw material under the challenge ‘Climate action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials’.

These Horizon 2020 areas are managed by the Commission through EASM.

The SME instrument targets highly innovative SMEs with a strong ambition to grow and internationalise, regardless of whether they are high-tech, research-driven, social or services-providing companies. SMEs can get up to € 2.5 million each in funding for business support and mentoring.

Cohesion policy

EU cohesion policy aims to reduce disparities in wealth between Europe’s regions. It focuses on investing in regions, cities and the real economy to stimulate growth and jobs, addressing climate change and dependence on energy imports, and reducing poverty and social exclusion.

Supporting SMEs is a key priority of cohesion policy. Each EU country establishes the conditions for providing support in the Operational Programmes setting out its funding priorities. Each country is also responsible for managing cohesion funding on its own territory.

Agriculture

Under the common agricultural policy (CAP), several funding opportunities are available to small companies:

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