DG Enterprise and Industry consults stakeholders on ideas for a more integrated and coherent approach to public support for EU enterprises to successfully do business outside the EU.
The proposal is based on the premises that (a) small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) generally need some form of assistance when making their first steps to internationalise their business and that (b) the required support cannot be fully provided by the private sector alone. For these reasons, significant resources are devoted to SME support from various EU, national and regional sources and a number of organisations and support programmes exist in this area. We maintain that the real impact of the funds spent could be increased by achieving more visibility of the actions and more clarity for SMEs as well as by bringing about a more effective cooperation between the parties involved in SME support. To this end, a “mapping” (stock-taking) of existing services in markets abroad is proposed as a basis for shaping future actions, as are guiding principles and priorities for these actions. This approach would allow the Commission to establish a “new partnership” with Member States in SME support abroad and to propose, as a second step, concrete EU actions with clear value added in key markets.
DG Enterprise and Industry started consulting stakeholders and concerned organisations on the topic of business support activities for EU enterprises in markets outside the EU already at the end of 2009. The views expressed by stakeholders in this first round of consultations, also in the context of Enterprise Policy Group meetings in May 2010, were taken into account notably for the design of the study “Opportunities for the Internationalisation of SMEs” (report expected soon).