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Brussels, 30 November 2011

EU access to finance schemes created more than 175 000 jobs and will create more jobs

The current Competitiveness and Innovation Framework programme (and predecessor of the new Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs", COSME) focuses on financial instruments for enterprises, the Enterprise Europe Network, Entrepreneurship and better framework conditions for enterprises in the EU. Other CIP actions, such as Innovation- and Energy-related actions, will be covered under the new Horizon 2020 Programme in the future.

This Memo outlines some of the main achievements and successes of the Competiveness and Innovation (CIP) programme.

1. Financial instruments

The financial instruments supported by CIP address the key market failures that limit the growth of SMEs.

The multiannual financial instruments in the form of guarantee schemes, risk-sharing facilities and equity and quasi-equity support were designed to

  • Facilitate access to finance for the start-up and growth of SMEs and

  • Encourage investment in innovation activities.

So far, by mid 2011, these instruments made funding easier for 146 000 SMEs and created or maintained directly about 175 000 jobs.1

5.6 billion EUR of guarantees and 1.6 billion EUR of venture capital has been mobilised for innovative SMEs by mid 2011. The 2010 Nobel Prize winners in physics, Professor Andre Geim and Dr Konstantin Novoselov, are part of a UK venture-backed team which is partly financed by the EU scheme.

In total, the financial instruments so far enabled financial institutions to provide about €7.2 billion of new finance by mid 2011. During the whole programme period (2007-2013), the CIP financial instruments should enable financial institutions to provide about €30 billion of new finance for more than 315 000 SMEs as a target and create or maintain directly about 380 000 jobs.

2. Enterprise Europe Network

The Enterprise Europe Network has been in contact with more than two million SMEs each year. More than half of the SMEs which used the services of the Enterprise Europe Network confirmed that they had accessed new markets or developed new products. For the partnership services, on average, the impact on turnover was 220 000 EUR per company. The total impact on sales growth is estimated at € 450 mio. Between 2008 and 2010, 2 400 jobs have been created by firms under partnership agreements. The trend of increasing number of partnerships per year is expected to continue in the coming years.

The Enterprise Europe Network provides integrated services to SMEs through its more than 3 000 staff in 600 regional offices. The Network helps SMEs to access market information, to find potential business and technology partners and to participate in EU research, technological development and innovation activities. It offers advice on funding and internationalisation services. More than 15 000 promotion, information, match-making and brokerage events have been organised; 4300 cross-border partnership agreements between companies have already been concluded through the Network in just 36 months. The number of partnership agreements between SMEs is growing steadily. Some 18 % of technology profiles have led to formal technology transfer agreements brought about by the Network.

The Network is also a very effective mechanism in receiving feedback from SMEs. Over 10 000 contributions from SMEs have been collected, in particular on public consultations (e.g. on the SME Panels on European Contract Law or the Working Time Directive).

Some key figures on EEN

  • Since its launch in February 2008, the Network has held more than 19 000 events for SMEs, with more than 750 000 participants. It also attracted around 66 000 small businesses to close to around 4 000 international brokerage events and company missions.

  • In its first 36 months in operation, the Network has carried out close to 100000 technology, IPR, finance and business reviews in SMEs, helping them license or source the right partners or technology.

  • The Network has helped 5 000 companies sign technology and business partnership agreements.

3. Diminishing patent breeches when entering new markets

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) stimulate research, innovation, inventiveness and creativity. SMEs are frequently not able to make the most of their creativity, because they do not incorporate IPR issues into their business strategies.

During its three years of operation the IPeuropAware project organised 39 seminars on IPR enforcement and awareness-raising seminars in 15 countries with more than 400 participants, tested 72 new IP services and tools on SMEs, which were then implemented by the national IP offices, trained around 250 IP officials on enforcement issues, advised more than 4 000 universities, public research organisations and SMEs and created a pan-European website with input from nearly all the European National IP Offices.

The China IPR SME Helpdesk provides training for European SMEs on how to protect their IP when doing business in China. In its first three years of operation it served some 50 000 website users and offered over 400 private confidential consultations. As a result of Helpdesk advice, 30 % of the users took a specific course of action (e.g. retaining lawyers, registering trademarks, undertaking administrative enforcement). This has increased the likelihood of effective protection for European SME-owned IPR, as well as offering protection against infringement, something which could potentially inflict substantial damage costs.

4. Entrepreneurship education and skills key for competitiveness and jobs

The programme has boosted entrepreneurship by its initiatives in the areas of entrepreneurship education and female entrepreneurial activity, developed by the Commission and countries participating in the CIP. At present, the Commission supports nine Europe-wide projects in the field of entrepreneurship education. They will serve as models for introducing novel methods of entrepreneurship education in all the Member States. In total, the nine projects are estimated to involve around 70 000 students and young people and some 900 teachers. However, the added value is not limited to the number of direct beneficiaries, but lies also in the creation of new models that can be widely replicated.

In the Netherlands, following measures taken by the government to promote the teaching of entrepreneurship in schools, the number of students in secondary education who say they want to be an entrepreneur has risen from 13 % to 23 %.

Female entrepreneurship is promoted by the European Network of Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors and the European Network of Mentors for Women Entrepreneurs. The Ambassadors aim to have successful entrepreneurs campaigning on the ground to encourage women of all ages to set up their own businesses and become entrepreneurs. The Mentors support enterprises owned and run by women during the first few crucial years, by providing women entrepreneurs with advice and support with the start-up, functioning and growth of their businesses.

A new European network of mentors to promote female entrepreneurship through the sharing of know-how and experience has been launched in October 2011. Women only account for 34.4% of the self-employed in Europe.

See IP/11/1476

1 :

Each loan case leads on average to 1.2 jobs per each firm assisted (see EIP Final Evaluation, April 2011)

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