Building on EU’s Domestic Experience in Inclusive Green Economy – case 6: the COSME Programme and the Enterprise Europe Network, by the SWITCH to Green facility
COSME, Europe’s programme for small and medium-sized enterprise, aims to promote the creation and growth of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) as well as the competitiveness and sustainability of EU's enterprises and in particular SMEs. The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is the main instrument of COSME to achieve its aim to improve SMEs’ access to markets and support their internationalisation.
COSME builds on the success of the EU Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). Among the most important achievements of the CIP figures the effectiveness of the action on the access to finance through the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP).
EEN is active in about 40 countries beyond the EU, located in Asia, Africa, and North and Latin America. The network’s global presence benefits SMEs wishing to expand their businesses and to network with business partners in countries outside the EU.
The case study highlights the international dimension and main lessons learned from the EU efforts and the network, e.g.:
- Synergies are crucial between components promoting access to finance, access to markets, enabling policy frameworks for competitiveness and entrepreneurship, in order to enhance impact and ensure that the main bottlenecks to SMEs’ growth are addressed;
- Working with business intermediaries is an effective approach to benefitting SMEs as end-users of support;
- Enhancing awareness of the Programme’s instruments among organisations representing business, for instance, might assist the involvement of a wider group of beneficiaries;
- Despite numerous efforts to improve the availability of financing systems for the SMEs, access to finance remains among the largest problems faced by individual SMEs;
- The more support services used by the SMEs, the higher is their growth in terms of increase in turnover and employment;
- There is sufficient scope for EEN to cover all countries benefitting from EU support to private sector development;
- The synergies of the EEN with the Cluster Internationalisation Initiative are important in permitting cluster-to-cluster and cluster-to-business meetings. Such meetings may create economies of scale and bring additional opportunities for individual SMEs participating in the events.
The full case study is available here.