To raise awareness of the benefits the Commission can bring to SMEs in the UK, a conference devoted to the landmark Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) programme was held in London today (21 May).
The conference gave an overview of the financial instruments that are available under COSME. It provided an opportunity to explain how these instruments work, and to encourage UK financial institutions to become intermediaries for the programme. This partnership between the EU and market operators who can provide access to finance is essential for the success of financial instruments.
Daniel Calleja, Director-General of DG Enterprise and Industry, opened the conference on 21 May together with Andrea Young (UK SME Envoy) and Jacqueline Minor (Commission representative in the UK).
Apart from detailing how the COSME programme will give fresh impetus to the European economy, the conference also highlighted the role of the Europe Enterprise Network in stimulating SME development. Bringing together nearly 600 business support organisations from more than 50 countries, the European Enterprise Network helps small companies seize the unparalleled business opportunities in the EU Single Market.
COSME aims to improve access to credit for SMEs, facilitating access to markets both in and outside Europe and creating a favourable environment in which SMEs can flourish. As SMEs are a key driver of the European economy, this is a move which stands to benefit Europe as a whole.
From 2014 to 2020, COSME will help to bridge the market gap in the provision of SME financing. It is expected that it will provide from €14 to 21 billion of SME financing in loans or investments, boosting between 220 000 and 330 000 SMEs in Europe.
This conference is part of a series of events which will raise awareness of COSME across Member States.