SME finance workshop: step one in commercialising research
The first small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) financing workshop, focused on bringing successful research results into the market, was held in Brussels on 10 March. The event not only offered practical advice to SMEs but also gave them the opportunity to meet representatives from the European Commission, venture capital firms, the European Enterprise Network and other SME-focused organisations. The day emphasised the Commissionís commitment to devising policies that create a more effective environment to foster the commercialisation of SME research.
Many SMEs that have completed their FP6 or FP7 research project and disseminated their results find it difficult to secure additional finance and support to get their successful results into market. 'The EU is highly effective at conducting unique and innovative research Ė but is less good at commercialisation,' comments Dr Bernd Reichert, head of the SME unit who oversaw the workshop. 'This we want to change.'
The free 'Financing for SMEs' workshop, organised by the Commission, was designed to deal with these issues and offer SMEs an opportunity to voice their opinions while receiving information and practical advice on the full range of financing options available.
The workshop was the ideal platform for new channels of communication to be established. 'The important thing is to start a dialogue between SMEs, the Commission and numerous finance institutions,' explains Dr Reichert. 'By evaluating financing policies, we can work to improve the systems currently in place.'
In addition to Dr Reichert, head of the SME unit of the Directorate-General (DG) for Research, Per-Ove Engelbrecht, head of the Financing Innovation and SMEs unit of DG Enterprise, Luisa Sanches Policy analyst of DG Regional Policy and five representatives from private equity and venture capital institutions were on hand to offer advice and respond to direct questions.
The financing workshop introduced representatives from both European and private funding institutions that distribute funds to SMEs. These bodies offered their knowledge and advice to SMEs, and they include the following: the Competition and Innovation Programme (CIP), the European Investment Fund (EIF), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds, and other Early Stage Market Players (EBAN), the European Venture Capital Association (EVCA) and the Cohesion funds.
To find out what practical advice and information each representative had to offer, please follow this link.
Communication and PR officer
DG Research, SME unit