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New programmes provide huge support for SMEs

This is a great time for SMEs to be exploring research opportunities in Europe. By signing up to the new Eurostars Programme, you'll have a great opportunity to drive leading international collaborations. And first indications from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) show that SMEs are increasing their share of the research pie. If this positive trend continues, it's estimated that on average EUR 1 billion in research funding will be made available to SMEs annually throughout FP7's lifespan.

The small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) Unit is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to optimise SMEs' participation in and benefit from Community research Framework programmes. The first wave of activities is the implementation of three projects funded under the call FP7-2007-SME-3.

In Points of View we learn that while many SMEs have become reluctant to receive professional consulting advice, mentoring has been a great success.

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The USEandDiffuse and ECOinno2SME projects will also identify good practice for disseminating and then exploiting research results.

A third project - PRESTO - identifies priority research topics for SME Associations by establishing a close and sustainable dialogue with European Technology Platforms (ETPs). These help industrial and academic research communities to coordinate their research and tailor it to a common strategic research agenda (SRA) which sets out research and development goals.

But of course, with the new EU Finance Day for SMEs event running in 27 EU capitals over the next 18 months (see Actions), let's not forget that improving access to finance for European SMEs is crucial for entrepreneurship, competitiveness, innovation and growth. Getting a company off the ground or expanding it requires money, but raising the right kind of finance can be a major difficulty. EU Finance Day for SMEs will try to address some of these issues.

Latest Information

Calls for Proposals

Title  Specific calls for SMEs
Title  General open calls
  • Eurostars:

    Budget agreed - 30 countries supported by EU

    Market-oriented R&D programme gets off to a flying start

  • Actions:

    EU Finance Day for SMEs - sifting through the options

    Member State capitals hosting 27 one-day events...

  • Points of View:

    Mentoring helps innovative SMEs get ahead

    Hi-tech companies reap benefits from smE-MPOWER project

  • Success Story:

    Project consortium provides economic help for SMEs

    RTD performers and IAGs create competitive advantage

  • Policy Update:

    USEandDiffuse, ECOinno2SME and PRESTO projects

    Enhancing the impact of SME participation in research

  • Events:

    Conferences, exhibitions and seminars for SMEs

    Management training, Eureka and ICT

  • Facts & Figures:

    Research highlights

    First report shows more SMEs signing up for FP7

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This online newsletter includes news, results, policy and points of view covering all areas of European research for SMEs. If there is anything in it you'd like more information about, then do let us know. Because we want to see what you have to say on each issue, and on research for SMEs in general, a web forum is available to register your comments and ideas for future topics to be covered.