Types of collaboration
Franchising is one way of setting up a business using a tried-and-tested model and a network of partners already operating in the market. The basic process involves a company with an existing business granting third parties the right to trade in its services or products, use its trade mark and apply its management methods in exchange for payment.
Strengthening and consolidating the Enterprise Facilitator Network will allow experience and knowledge to be shared, thereby increasing the diversity of the network’s specific strengths and ensuring complementary action within a positive-sum logic.
New types of European business structure
Council Regulation (EEC) No 2137/85 introduced the European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG).
By sharing resources, activities, capabilities and skills, the results achieved by the grouping should be better than those achieved by its members individually.
The grouping does not seek any benefits for itself, and profits will be shared between its members. Its activities must be connected with those of its members, but not replace them. EEIGs cannot employ more than 500 people.
EEIGs must consist of at least two members (individuals or companies, whether public or private), based in different Member States, and must have their head offices within the European Union.
The ‘Societas Europaea’ (SE) or European public limited company is a new type of legal person with the following characteristics:
- its name includes the abbreviation SE;
- its founding members are linked to more than one Member State of the European Union;
- its head office is in one of the Member States, and must be registered in that Member State;
- its nature is that of a public limited company, incorporated under the law of the Member State in which its head office is located.
The European public limited company allows businesses to reorganise their activities at EU level so that they can attain an appropriate size to meet those needs going beyond national borders.
Other options for expanding your business are taking over an existing one, merging with another company or opening a branch in another EU country.
Eliminating double taxation
The Member States of the European Union have adopted a convention introducing an arbitration process to eliminate double taxation in connection with the adjustment of profits of associated enterprises in different Member States.
When double taxation arises, the enterprise affected presents its case to the tax authorities concerned, which, if they cannot solve the problem satisfactorily, will endeavour to eliminate double taxation through a mutual agreement with the tax authorities of the other Member State.
If no agreement can be reached, the tax authorities of the two Member States present the case to an advisory commission, which issues an opinion on how to eliminate double taxation.
Although the tax authorities can subsequently adopt a different solution from that suggested by the advisory commission, they are bound to adopt the commission's advice if they cannot reach agreement.
The commission consists of a chairman, two representatives from each of the tax authorities concerned, and an even number of independent members.
To receive a newsletter, updated information on the franchising system and business ideas, or a translation of the European Code of Ethics for Franchising, please visit the website of the Portuguese Franchising Association.
Business operators wanting to cooperate with other businesses and find partners can complete a series of on-line diagnostic tests. The first tool, a self-diagnostic test, measures the cooperation potential of businesses.
The website of the Institute for Support to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Innovation (IAPMEI) contains a series of tools for developing business cooperation, which aim to increase the competitiveness of the businesses involved. It also contains a list of publications and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section.
You can request updated information on specific types of foreign company from the Foreign Clients programme of the business development agency AICEP Portugal Global.
The Institute for Support to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Innovation (IAPMEI) is the national contact point for two EU programmes for European SMEs and their counterparts in Latin America (Al-Invest – industrial cooperation programme promoting investment in Latin American countries) and Asia (Asia-Invest – programme promoting economic cooperation between the EU and Asia).