The European Commission welcomed today's adoption of the programme COSME by the European Parliament.
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship commented: “I am particularly delighted by the vote of the European Parliament as it is the outcome of months of hard work of the EU institutions. We are firmly committed to help European businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, as the latter are the back-bone of the EU economy, providing 85% of all new jobs. Bearing this in mind, COSME will make the life of SMEs much easier by supporting their access to finance; an issue identified as crucial for SMEs in the EU.“
COSME aims to ease the access to credit problems that small businesses currently face.
With a € 2.3 billion-budget over the period 2014-2020 the Programme for the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) will for instance provide a guarantee facility for loans to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) of up to € 150 000. From now until 2020, 330 000 EU firms are expected to benefit from this facility. In addition, COSME will assist businesses and citizens in the following ways: 1) entrepreneurs will benefit from easier access to markets in the EU and beyond, 2) citizens who wish to become self-employed but currently face difficulties in setting up or developing their own business will receive tailored services and assistance, and 3) Member States' authorities will be better assisted in their efforts to elaborate and implement effective SME related policy reform.
COSME aims at strengthening the competitiveness and sustainability of the EU's enterprises, at encouraging an entrepreneurial culture and promoting the creation and growth of SMEs. These objectives will be met by improving:
1. Access to finance: Nearly € 1.4 billion of the € 2.3 billion COSME budget is allocated to loans and venture capital complementing financial schemes at national level:
A loan facility will provide SMEs with direct guarantees or other risk-sharing arrangements with financial intermediaries - such as banks, mutual guarantees and venture capital funds - to cover loans up to € 150 000.
An equity facility for growth-phase investment will provide SMEs with commercially-oriented reimbursable equity financing primarily in the form of venture capital, obtained through financial intermediaries.
2. The Access to markets strand consists of concrete business support services to be provided notably by the Enterprise Europe Network. These will focus on the internationalisation of SMEs, facilitating business expansion and cross-border partnerships. IPR Helpdesks are also available in Europe, China, and the ASEAN and Mercosur regions.
3. Improving framework conditions will be achieved by supporting the implementation of the EU's SME Policy, reducing administrative burden or specifically targeting certain SME-rich, job-creating sectors.
4. Promotion of entrepreneurship activities will include developing entrepreneurial skills and attitudes, especially among new entrepreneurs, young people and women as well as the Erasmus for Entrepreneurs exchange scheme.
The Programme is expected to assist some 330 000 firms to obtain loans, helping them to create or save hundreds of thousands of jobs, and launch new business products, services or processes.
COSME builds upon the success of the current Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP).