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  Focus on SMEs at Porto conference Back

Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin reaffirmed the European Commission's commitment to encouraging the participation of SMEs (small and medium size enterprises) in EU research programmes in his opening to the SME Technology Days conference in Porto at the end of June 2000.

Mr Busquin also visited a factory operated by a Portuguese SME, Juvenal Ferreira da Silva, that is using a new technology for protecting wine from chemical or microbial contamination from cork stoppers developed in an EU-funded research project. The system, which uses microwaves to treat the corks, was developed by a German research institute, Rudolf Ohlinger, on behalf of Juvenal, and two other SMEs from Germany and Spain. The problem of corked wine costs the European wine industry 500 million a year.

The 'Development of an innovative technique for the production of microbial and chemical inactive wine and champagne cork stoppers' project demonstrates how EU research funding is helping SMEs as well as large companies and traditional industries in addition to the high tech sector. At the conference, Hans-Werner Müller, Secretary General of UEAPME, the body representing Europe's SMEs, underlined the need for SMEs in traditional industries to continue to receive European research support. He reminded the audience that high tech companies in fields such as biotechnology account for only 3% of the total number of SMEs in Europe and that the vast majority operate in sectors like clothing, leather and construction.

For more information on the SME Technology Days event see :

 Focus on SMEs at Porto conference
  SMEs involvement with the Growth Programme
  An SME's view of involvement in EU-funded aeronautics research projects


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