Supporting small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU and US to access markets on the other side of the Atlantic is the central topic of the fourth EU-US SME Workshop, in Washington DC, on 3 and 4 December 2012.
At the meeting a Memorandum of Understanding on promoting cooperation between the business support networks Enterprise Europe Network and International Trade Administration was signed today. Specific areas for cooperation include the promotion of SME events and business partnering activities, participation in sectoral or thematic seminars and the exchange of information on SME networking opportunities. SMEs on both sites will profit in the areas of business matchmaking, technology brokerage, and innovation management.
Director General of the European Commission DG Enterprise, Daniel Calleja Crespo, said: "We must think jointly how to help SMEs tapping more fully the economic potential of the global market. If you are "international" you grow faster, you increase employment faster and pay higher wages than non-exporting SME firms."
The EU-US workshop follows on from the objectives described in the Letter of Intent signed by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani and Acting Secretary of Commerce Blank in May 2012.
EU/US exchange views on a modern SME policy
Other topics discussed at meeting addressed policies to support SMEs:
Role and mapping of clusters: Also policies to promote SMEs by providing them a joint infrastructure (ICT, research, financing and IPR) in clusters were discussed, such as by the European Cluster Alliance.
Background - Scale of EU/US commercial and investment transatlantic contacts:
On both sides of the Atlantic, SMEs account for much more than 90% of the total number of businesses. The similarities are striking in contribution to innovation, turnover and employment (2/3 of new employment in the U.S. in the last 15 years generated by SMEs).