The study investigated emerging forms of inter-firm collaboration. The aim was to propose possible measures to support business networks and coordinate them at European level when appropriate. Based on eight case studies conducted in EU countries, business networks were divided into two types: business associations and company aggregations. The difference between the two types is in the level of cooperation and coordination.
This first mapping-study assessed the scope and availability of support services for EU small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It did this in the EU and in 25 countries outside the EU. This study served two purposes:
The study (5 MB) resulted in an inventory of support measures and an analysis of gaps and overlaps in existing services in order to identify the need for future action.
This study looked at opportunities and support available for EU SMEs s to do business outside the EU, particularly in the key markets of Brazil, Russia, India, China, Japan, South Korea, and Ukraine. It focused on three main elements:
The study was launched to identify the main barriers and advantages of internationalisation, and to propose policy recommendations. It analysed all activities that put SMEs into a meaningful business relationship with a foreign partner: exports, imports, foreign direct investment, international subcontracting, and international technical co-operation. The data and conclusions were based on a survey of 9480 SMEs in 33 European countries.
Results show that while 25% of EU SMEs export or have exported at some point during the last 3 years, only 13% are active in markets outside the EU.
In addition to the numbers on internationalisation, the study presented evidence on the need to support greater internationalisation.
To understand the barriers that impede greater SME involvement in international operations and identify successful practices, the European Commission launched this project in 2006.