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Multi-capital events help SMEs with their finances

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Through the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), a sizeable amount of money has been made available to help SMEs across the EU to access the loans and equity they need to grow and develop their business.

During their start-up phase, SMEs often face a number of problems which are directly linked to a lack of resources, expertise, contacts and, of course, finance. The Commission has therefore decided to organise a series of 27 one-day events to make SMEs aware of the different sources of finance options that are available to them under the EC's CIP, and put them in touch with the 600 financial intermediaries approved to implement them.

These intermediary companies are members of the Enterprise Europe Network, a new EC initiative which offers SMEs a one-stop shop from where they can seek advice and benefit from a wide range of easily accessible business support services.

Open to 60 SMEs at a time, the EU Finance Day for SMEs series focuses on helping SMEs find access to capital and providing a forum for sharing best practice. The events will be running throughout this year (April: Rome; May: Warsaw; and June: Stockholm) and well into 2009.

The first Finance Day took place in Ljubljana at the end of last month, but each EU capital will host its own event. "This is a good example of cooperation between CIP and FP7 streamlining information for SMEs at a national level," says our own Head of Unit Bernd Reichert will be participating in the programme, talking about SME funding opportunities in FP7 and Eurostars (see our Eurostars page in this issue).