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European SME Week 2010 draws crowds


Martina Daly

A record number of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) events took place across Europe in May and June 2010. European SME Week 2010 consisted of nearly 1 500 events, attracting an audience estimated at 3.3 million people in 37 countries. Now in its second year, the pan-European campaign seeks to support and encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them thrive and to reward their achievements.

Austria: What's available to SMEs?

National Contact Points in Austria organised an SME Roadshow that saw Linz, Graz, Dornbirn and Vienna play host to an informative seminar looking at bottom-up R&D programmes and initiatives available to SMEs. The workshop-style events provided an overview of SME funding for research possibilities in FP7, EUREKA and EUROSTARS, and EraSME, and gave a comparison on three SME-dedicated funding schemes.

Czech Republic: Cultivating and supporting SME innovation

The Technology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (TC ASCR), the leading Czech organisation that encourages R&D in innovative technologies, organised a number of SME-focused events aimed at cultivating SME innovation capacities and supporting the protection of their intangible assets, including:

  • 'FP7: a Challenge for SMEs and Universities'. Held in Prague, the event focused on the opportunities available to innovative SMEs, particularly those that associate their growth with their own technological R&D. The seminar provided information on the Framework Programme in general and the success of the Czech SME project Chemstar.
  • 'Be good businessmen - do not ignore your IP', which discussed issues of intellectual property rights and their fundamental importance to SMEs. The event consisted of a half-day series of lectures given by the leading Czech and EU IPR specialist .
  • an informative event highlighting SME support schemes available through a newly launched Innovation Centre and Business Incubator in Prague. This event marked the closure of SME Week.

The TC ASCR said it was proud to join SME Week 2010 and help create a dynamic synergy with other SME-related events across Europe.

Cyprus: SME opportunities

An informative event took place in Limassol, southern Cyprus, entitled 'Funding Opportunities and Support Measures for Enterprises', which covered general opportunities available to SMEs throughout the country. It presented and provided information on numerous EU programmes, including:

  • 'Research for the benefit of SMEs';
  • 'Eco-Innovation' - an open call for proposals;
  • The Enterprise Europe Network;
  • The Business Support Centre of Cyprus.

The event was organised by the Business Support Centre of Cyprus (a member of Enterprise Europe Network), the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and National Contact Points.