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Vice President Verheugen launches Enterprise Europe Network, European business support at your doorstep

European Commission - IP/08/192   07/02/2008

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IP/08/192

Brussels, 7th February 2008

Vice President Verheugen launches Enterprise Europe Network, European business support at your doorstep

Today European Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen launched Enterprise Europe Network, a new and powerful European support network for enterprises. All major players of the business support community in Europe have united to offer a one-stop service to assist especially small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop their full potential and innovative capacity. The Enterprise Europe Network includes more than 500 contact points for entrepreneurs in Europe. They provide a full range of support services in close proximity to SMEs covering the whole EU territory and going even beyond. Participants at the launch event included Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Science and Research, Slovenian Minister of Economy Andrej Vizjak, the President of the Committee of Regions Luc Van den Brande and the President of the Group of Employers of the EESC Henri Malosse, Presidents of business organisations and representatives of SMEs.

Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen responsible for enterprise and industry policy said: “The new Enterprise Europe Network is a milestone in the Commission's integrated policy for promoting entrepreneurship and growth of enterprises in Europe. I call on all entrepreneurs in the EU and beyond to use it to the best of their needs".

Committee of Regions President Luc Van den Brande said: “The Committee of the Regions fully supports the initiative because it is an example of Europe working in partnership. Regions and cities are Europe's engines of growth and jobs and real engagement with SMEs has to take place on their doorstep to be effective.”

European Social and Economic Committee President, Dimitris Dimitriadis said: “Entrepreneurship is the key for Europe to facing the challenges of globalisation, creating new jobs and innovation. Therefore is the launch of this Enterprise Europe Network an important step in the right direction."

Enterprise Europe Network combines the strengths of the previous Euro Info Centre with the Innovation Relay Centre networks. With the new network, business receives ‘Business Support on Your Doorstep’, as the slogan suggests. The ‘No wrong door’ principle will apply for the whole network and for each network partner. All SMEs will receive information and a personalised service tailored to their needs, making best use of modern technologies and from every organisation in the new network.

More concretely, the Enterprise Europe Network offers the following services:

1. Assisting companies in going international

  • An estimated one million European SMEs could be involved in cross-border trade and investment. The Enterprise Europe Network will help develop exchanges between enterprises, trigger new ideas, nurture potential partnerships and stimulate firms to develop beyond their initial horizons. One-to-one match making meetings will be organized to help identify trustworthy partners.
  • Building technology partnerships between SMEs based on the transfer of innovation is another way to ‘go international’ and generate return on investments in research. The network is assisting SMEs to identify partners and make the contractual arrangements with them.

2. Innovation, new products and grasping opportunities in the single market

  • Help small businesses with technical issues such as intellectual property rights, standards and EU legislation, as it can be difficult for companies to remain abreast of changes in EU related opportunities.
  • Promoting innovation: The Enterprise Europe Network encourages SMEs to become more innovative as sharing the results of research can trigger new ideas/opportunities. Amongst other, collaboration with clusters bundling different innovation related activities will be improved. Ensuring access to innovative technology will help SMEs face global competition.

3. Accessing EU projects and funding

  • The Enterprise Europe Network aims to overcome the knowledge gap regarding different sources of EU financing and ensure companies are aware of the possibilities available. SMEs will in particular be encouraged to participate in research programmes.

4. Providing feedback to the Commission

  • The Enterprise Europe Network will act as a two-way street between entrepreneurs and the Commission, relaying views in both directions to ensure that the policies and initiatives the Commission prepares will be helpful for SMEs and do not mean additional administrative burden.

The new Enterprise Europe Network is part of the Commission's integrated policy for promoting entrepreneurship and growth of enterprises in Europe. It will support SMEs from all sectors to take greater advantage of the opportunities of the Single Market.

More information

See Memo/08/78

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise-europe-network


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