COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a planned budget of €2.3bn. COSME will support SMEs in the following area.
Better access to finance for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)
COSME will facilitate and improve access to finance for SMEs through two different financial instruments, available from 2014:
The Loan Guarantee Facility
The COSME budget will fund guarantees and counter-guarantees for financial intermediaries (e.g. guarantee organisations, banks, leasing companies) to help them provide more loan and lease finance to SMEs. This facility will also include securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios.
By sharing the risk, the COSME guarantees will allow the financial intermediaries to expand the range of SMEs they can finance. This will facilitate access to debt finance for many SMEs who might otherwise not be able to raise the funding they need. From 2007 to date, more than 240 000 SMEs have already benefited from a guaranteed loan or lease thanks to the CIP, the current programme supporting business competitiveness.
The Equity Facility for Growth
The COSME budget will also be invested in funds that provide venture capital and mezzanine finance to expansion and growth-stage SMEs in particular those operating across borders.
The fund managers will operate on a commercial basis, to ensure that investments are focused on SMEs with the greatest growth potential.
From 2007 to date, the CIP has mobilised more than 2.3 billion euros in equity investments.
If you are an SME or an entrepreneur looking for debt or equity finance and would like to see which financial intermediaries currently work with the CIP, as well as the other EU financial instruments, visit http://access2eufinance.ec.europa.eu.
Access to markets
All businesses have access to the services of the Enterprise Europe Network and can freely approach the local partner in their region. Over 600 partner organisations in 54 countries have built a capacity to reach out to more than 2 million SMEs.
Your nearest partner can be found on the Network's website.
The services offered include:
- Information on EU legislation and participation in EU programmes (Horizon 2020, regional funds);
- Assistance to find a business partner abroad: in the EU or worldwide;
- Advice on EU access to finance;
- Support for innovation and technology transfer;
- Obtaining SME's opinion on EU legislation.
If you want to go abroad with your company, this portal gathers all services provided by national authorities you might need.
COSME will also fund IPR SME Helpdesks for China, ASEAN and Mercosur to help SMEs to deal with issues relating to intellectual property rights (IPRs) in these countries. This includes the registration of formal IPRs, such as patents, trademarks or utility models, but also how to deal with infringements of intellectual property rights or manage intellectual property as business assets.
Thanks to CIP, the China IPR SME Helpdesk is fully operational. Its free services include confidential first-line advice, awareness raising, training and the provision of materials on relevant topics. Since 2011, the helpdesk has answered more than 400 direct enquires from SMEs that would like to operate in that country and supported thousands of SMEs through events and online services. The multilingual online portal of the China IPR SME Helpdesk can be accessed there: www.china-iprhelpdesk.eu
Entrepreneurs and their new businesses are key to European growth and competitiveness. Promotion of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture is therefore one of the four main objectives of COSME.
The Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan is a decisive call for joint action at European, national, regional, and local level. Initiatives under the Action Plan include three main improvements:
- Entrepreneurship education – COSME will support exchanges among European educators and trainers support best practice in entrepreneurship education in the EU.
- Improving the business environment so entrepreneurs can grow and flourish – together with improving the legal and fiscal environment, experts will also develop recommendations on the best support for businesses throughout their lifecycles. Specific support for Web entrepreneurs will be provided.
- Role models and outreach to specific groups – under COSME groups such as young people, women or senior entrepreneurs will be able to benefit from mentoring or other tailored programmes.
Examples of actions already supported by the European Commission include:
- The European Network of Mentors for Women Entrepreneurs provides advice and support to women entrepreneurs in the start-up, running and growth of businesses during their early years (2nd to 4th year of in business).
- Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs helps new entrepreneurs (not necessarily young in years, but in the age of their businesses) by offering an opportunity to learn from a more experienced host entrepreneur in another country. The host in return benefits from a fresh perspective on his/her business.
More favorable conditions for business creation and growthReduction of administrative and regulatory burden
COSME aims at lightening the administrative burden on businesses by removing unnecessary reporting and information requirements. As research indicates, SMEs are disproportionately affected by regulation. A special focus is thus needed to create more favourable conditions for them.
Identification and exchange of best practices among national administrations to improve SMEs policy
Initiatives at national, regional and local level will be launched. One of these is the European Enterprise Awards to reward promotion of SMEs and entrepreneurship, particularly on regional and local level.
Analytical tools for better policy
To facilitate the preparation of new legislation at EU and national level, and compare performance of different policies in member states, conferences and analytical tools, such as Competitiveness report, will be supported.
Sectorial actions such as tourism.
Source : http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/initiatives/cosme/index_en.htm