Interne Markt, Industrie, Ondernemerschap en Midden- en Kleinbedrijf

Support for SMEs and entrepreneurs

Support for SMEs and entrepreneurs

To provide support and information to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) seeking to boost their business, the Commission sponsors several portals, networks and studies. 

The Enterprise Europe Network

The Enterprise Europe Network helps small companies make the most out of business opportunities in the EU. It is a one-stop-shop for all business needs. It provides support on access to market information, overcoming legal obstacles, and identifying potential business partners across Europe.

The network offers a wide range of services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It aims to:

  • help SMEs find international business, technology, and research partners in the EU, COSME participating countries, and other non-EU countries
  • develop a service helping SMEs become active in the Single Market and beyond
  • increase SME competitiveness through internationalisation and innovation support services
  • involve SMEs in the policy-making process by transmitting feedback to the European Commission
  • strengthen support to SMEs interested in participating in Horizon 2020 and corresponding calls for proposals, and encourage SMEs to participate in the SME Instrument
  • enable SMEs to turn the resource efficiency challenge into opportunities that contribute to the future Climate Action and Green Action Plan
  • improve SMEs’ awareness on access to finance
  • ensure visibility, recognition, and local awareness about the network.

The Enterprise Europe Network comprises about 600 partner organisations in more than 50 countries. It consists of around 3000 staff with expertise in business and innovation services for SMEs. The network is a two-way communication channel between the Commission and the SME community. It obtains opinions from SMEs about developing new legislation, taking into account initiatives set out in the Small Business Act and the Think Small First Principle.

Your Europe Business

Only 25% of European SMEs export to another country. This means that many SMEs are missing out on opportunities offered by the Single Market. Your Europe Business is a portal offering help to businesses and entrepreneurs who want to expand their activities to other EU or EEA countries. It provides practical information on EU rules and links them to national rules, authorities, helpdesks, and support services.

The portal helps boost competitiveness and growth, and facilitates SMEs’ access to markets. It complements and promotes the services of the Enterprise Europe Network.

Visit the Your Europe Business portal and learn more about rules and opportunities for doing business on the EU and EEA market.

Intellectual property rights helpdesks

Intellectual property (IP) can improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, SMEs often lack the time, resources, or knowledge to address intellectual property rights (IPR) issues. The EU funds five IPR helpdesks staffed by experts who can provide free advice and training sessions on IP issues:

More on IP and SMEs


Publication on support services' evaluation for would-be entrepreneurs and new businesses
Publication on a blueprint for cross-border matchmaking between start-ups and midcaps