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Start, manage and grow a business with support from the EU


What do I do if I want to open a barbershop in Belgium, or work as a consultant in Croatia? Well, when it comes to doing business in the EU, there are no borders. The Single Market allows me to offer my products or services to over 500 million consumers. Goods, people and capital are able to move freely between countries, so I can follow my business ambitions wherever they lead.  


Setting up a business doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. If I’ve had a bright idea, then the EU can provide me with the financial support I need through a wide range of local, regional and national initiatives. Whether starting a new business, or developing an existing one, I can apply for help from EU-supported loans, microfinance, guarantees and venture capital.


Where should I look for solid advice? The Enterprise Europe Network, the world’s largest support network for small and medium businesses with international ambitions, can pair me up with an experienced expert who understands my business model. They can create an action plan and help me get to grips with everything from finance to intellectual property. They can also help me find international partners to grow and scale up my business abroad.

Get a head start

I can even learn from the pros. If I’ve recently set up my own business, or I’m looking to do so soon, then I’m eligible for on-the-job training with an established small business anywhere in the EU. The Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs scheme will give me experience of other European markets, which can help my new venture blossom.


Not when I’m registering my business in an EU country: the process can be completed online. What’s more, the EU encourages countries to register businesses like mine within 3 days at a cost of less than €100. The EU’s Small Business Act tries to improve entrepreneurship in Europe, simplifying the regulatory and policy environment for small businesses, and removing the remaining barriers to their development. So with no mountains of paperwork to worry about, setting up my business will be simple and painless.

How it works

As one of the world’s largest economies, the EU is the perfect place to start or scale up a business. The Single Market means that the EU is considered as one large area, so I just need to decide in which country or countries I would like to do business. Almost all European businesses are small or medium-sized and more than 9 in every 10 are micro-enterprises (with an annual turnover of less than €2 million). For that reason, EU policy is designed to help such businesses grow: it identifies and tackles the main problems they face, such as the time it takes to set up an enterprise. On top of this, the EU can give me what I need to get the very best out of my business idea – from finance to coaching, and from business networks to exchange schemes. 

    Did you know?



    the percentage of GDP that is generated by the free movement of goods within the EU.

    €2.3 billion


    of the EU budget is ring-fenced specifically for supporting small and medium businesses until 2020. 

    International expansion


    My business can offer its goods or services to any other EU country without being based there. All I need is a pre-existing business in the country where I live.



    The maximum amount I can apply for in a microloan to start or develop my business. I can also apply for a loan guarantee of up to €150,000 to support my business.

    €2.7 billion


    The budget of the European Innovation Council, which supports ambitious and cutting-edge proposals. 



    The number of small and medium businesses expected to benefit from improved access to finance as a result of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the core element of the Juncker Plan.

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