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Industry and Entrepreneurship

SMEs and Entrepreneurship

SMEs and Entrepreneurship

23.02.2011: Communication on Review of the "Small Business Act" for Europe, COM(2011) 0078.

14.09.2011: First meeting of the Network of the national SME Envoys. The Network is part of the governance structure to ensure the implementation of the Review of the SBA.

16.02.2011: Directive 2011/7/EU on combating late payment in commercial transactions, OJEU L 48/1

October 2011: Vice-President Tajani addressed letters inviting Member States to an early transposition by January 2012 of Directive 2011/7/EU, foreseen by the latest 16 March 2013.

The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme 2007-13 (CIP) finances the High Growth and Innovative SME Facility (GIF) which invests in funds and provides venture capital for SME financing.

By the end of 2011, as from the start of the Facility, 31 GIF transactions with venture capital funds targeting investments in 19 participating countries had been approved, of which 8 in 2011, committing EU investments of EUR 383.4 million (including eligible cost for the respective Financial Intermediaries). Four of these venture capital funds are investing fully in eco-innovation across Europe and in addition two funds are investing at least 30% in eco-innovation, supported by EU commitments of about EUR 72.7 million.

This, combined with the guarantees instrument under CIP, has allowed assisting 155 000 companies and created or maintained 186 000 jobs.

Co-investments in funds and investment vehicles promoted by business angels is permitted under the early stage window of GIF.

Furthermore for the period 2014-2020, the Commission has proposed a reinforced and expanded equity financial instrument to improve SME access to venture capital, from their early stage (including seed) to their growth stage. This equity financial instrument will be funded by the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs and by Horizon 2020.

The instrument includes the establishment of funds to provide capital to venture capital funds that target notably investments in more than one Member State. National public financial institutions, as well as private investors, will be invited to participate in the fund.

7.12.2011: EU Action Plan to improve access to finance for SME, COM(2011) 870.

7.12.2011: Proposal for a Regulation on European Venture Capital Funds, COM(2011) 860

Setting the SME Finance Forum on a permanent basis:

  • 2nd high level meeting of the SME Finance Forum : 15 March 2011
  • 3rd high level meeting of the SME Finance Forum : 18 October 2011

23.11.2011: A special meeting on SME Finance Forum – Africa. A Memorandum of Understanding on an SME policy dialogue between African Union and European Union has been signed.

9.11.2011: Communication on "Small Business, Big World — a new partners hip to help SMEs seize global opportunities", COM(2011) 702.

This Communication sets the strategy to help SME access third country markets with the objective of doubling the current number of SME internationally active outside the EU.

11-12.05.2011: 8th Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting on Industrial Cooperation in Malta, jointly organised by Malta, the Hungarian Presidency and DG ENTR. In particular, Ministers agreed on a comprehensive 2011-2012 work programme for Euro-Mediterranean industrial cooperation to promote SMEs, innovation, investment, sustainable enterprise development and to run dialogues in the sectors of textiles, tourism, space and raw materials. The implementation of the programme is fully on track.

Work in progress on Agreements on Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA):

  • ACAA with Tunisia: preparations are ongoing. Negotiations will be launched in March 2012
  • ACAA with Morocco: preparations for negotiations are ongoing.
  • ACAA with Egypt: preparations for negotiations are ongoing.
  • ACAA with Jordan: preparations for negotiations are ongoing.

Aim of these negotiations is to adopt horizontal and sectoral legislation and to upgrade implementing infrastructure in the areas of accreditation, standardisation, conformity assessment, metrology and market surveillance with the help of EU financed technical assistance. DG Enterprise is being closely monitoring these countries in order to guide the progress and support an acceleration of the preparations.
In addition, the Commission will probably be able to launch the negotiations in March 2012 with Tunisia on two first sectors (electrical products and construction materials). Egypt, Morocco and Jordan will probably follow in 2012 and 2013.

- 6.05.2010: Signature of the ACAA on pharmaceutical products with Israel (Council Decision on the conclusion of the Protocol to the Council, DS 14974/09), with the European Parliament under the consent procedure.

Relations with China:

- 5.11.2010: Launch of the Centre for European Union Small and Medium Enterprises (EU SME Centre) in Beijing. It became fully operational in 2011. Funded by the European Commission (EUR 5 million), it provides information, advice, training and matchmaking opportunities for European SMEs wishing to export to or invest in the Chinese market.

- the China IPR SME Helpdesk has been prolonged for a three-year period (until December 2013). It is a project is funded under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and builds on the achievements of a pilot project carried out in 2008-10.The objective is to support EU SMEs engaged in China business to protect and enforce Intellectual Property Rights

Works on improving the application of the SME test continued in 2011. The monitoring of the impact assessments performed for the proposals more relevant for SMEs was ensured.

The INNO Partnering Forum is aimed at helping European innovation agencies develop new approaches for SME innovation support and at identifying improved synergies for support measures. It has put in place twinning practices on pre-commercial procurement and devised methods for and carried out peer review exercises between innovation agencies. In this way IPF has established a policy framework as a common learning platform looking at how services are delivered and received both from the SME and the innovation agency perspectives. IPF was launched at the end of 2009 for a 3-year period with an EU contribution of EUR 2.85 million.

23.11.2011: Commission report on Minimizing regulatory burden for SMEs - Adapting EU regulation to the needs of micro-enterprises, COM(2011) 803.

15.11.2011: Setting the European Network of Female Entrepreneurship Mentors (the network covers 17 European countries with the participation of 170 mentors)

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs 2011:

The budget for this mobility action is now under the CIP. The programme has also been included in the Commission's proposal establishing a Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SME for the period 2014-2020. By the end of 2011 the programme had received a total of 4300 applications and has achieved 900 relationships matching 'host' and 'new' entrepreneurs.

3-9.10.2011: European SME Week 2011:

1500 events were held in 37 participating countries and particularly:

  • the central event, the European SME Week Summit, took place on 6-7 October at the European Parliament's premises in cooperation with the SME Intergroup of the European Parliament.
  • an exhibition on 6 October was held to present entrepreneurs who had successfully taken over an enterprise and breathed new life into it or had bounced back after a failure and established a new enterprise.
  • a conference took place on 7 October. The plenary session was held in the European Parliament with 750 guests (Members of the European Parliament, entrepreneurs, business organisations and regional and national officials) was followed by 10 thematic workshops.

Entrepreneurship Education 2011:

A framework for exchanging good practice in the field of Supporting teachers to introduce entrepreneurship education into the classroom was established. In 2011, 45 countries participated in this exchange (including EU pre-accession and Southern Mediterranean countries), while hands-on teacher training laboratories have been prepared for 2012.

January 2011: publication of the study on Business Dynamics: Start-ups, Business Transfers and Bankruptcy. Financed under the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP), it provides data on the current procedures linked to business licenses, transfers of business, bankruptcy and second chance in each Member State and proposes recommendations so that these procedures can be streamlined to facilitate a more business-friendly business environment.

November 2011: publication of the report on Do SMEs create more and better jobs? Financed under the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, the report identified in particular that SME create more jobs than large enterprises. Between 2002 and 2010, 85% of total employment growth was attributable to SMEs, and SMEs provide over 2/3 of total private employment.

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