Brussels, 30 June 2014

Unleashing Europe's potential through mobilising up to €25 billion of finance for SMEs

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani has announced that SMEs in Europe will soon have the opportunity to access up to €25 billion of additional finance supported by the COSME programme (the EU Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises). The programme will allow financial institutions throughout Europe to provide enhanced access to finance to up to 330 000 SMEs.

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: “It is evident that public support continues to play a crucial role in enhancing access to finance for SMEs. Indeed, the existing EU support measures have facilitated SME survival, development and success across the EU. Even more importantly, the new EU financing initiatives for SMEs will continue in the future. We expect that the new COSME financial instruments will be finalised before the summer break. This agreement is an excellent example of how the EU can support small companies to finance their investments in order to grow and create jobs.

For the full press release click here

COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) is the EU programme which aims to ease the access to credit problems that small businesses currently face. With a € 2.3 billion-budget over the period 2014-2020 the Programme for the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) will for instance provide a guarantee facility for loans to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) of up to € 150 000. From now until 2020, 330 000 EU firms are expected to benefit from this facility. In addition, COSME will assist businesses and citizens in the following ways: 1) entrepreneurs will benefit from easier access to markets in the EU and beyond, 2) citizens who wish to become self-employed but currently face difficulties in setting up or developing their own business will receive tailored services and assistance, and 3) Member States' authorities will be better assisted in their efforts to elaborate and implement effective SME related policy reform.

Following the adoption by the European Parliament on 20 November, the Council adopted the COSME Regulation on 5 December 2013. Read the press release .

Background

COSME aims at strengthening the competitiveness and sustainability of the EU's enterprises, at encouraging an entrepreneurial culture and promoting the creation and growth of SMEs. These objectives will be met by improving:

  • access to finance for SMEs,

  • access to markets, inside the Union but also at global level,
  • framework conditions for businesses, and

  • entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture.

1. Access to finance: Nearly €1.4 billion of the € 2.3 billion COSME budget is allocated to loans and venture capital complementing financial schemes at national level:

  • A loan facility will provide SMEs with direct guarantees or other risk-sharing arrangements with financial intermediaries - such as banks, mutual guarantees and venture capital funds - to cover loans up to € 150 000.

  • An equity facility for growth-phase investment will provide SMEs with commercially-oriented reimbursable equity financing primarily in the form of venture capital, obtained through financial intermediaries.

2. The Access to markets strand consists of concrete business support services to be provided notably by the Enterprise Europe Network. These will focus on the internationalisation of SMEs, facilitating business expansion and cross-border partnerships. IPR Helpdesks are also available in Europe, China, and the ASEAN and Mercosur regions.

3. Improving framework conditions will be achieved by supporting the implementation of the EU's SME Policy, reducing administrative burden or specifically targeting certain SME-rich, job-creating sectors.

4. Promotion of entrepreneurship activities will include developing entrepreneurial skills and attitudes, especially among new entrepreneurs, young people and women as well as the Erasmus for Entrepreneurs exchange scheme.

The Programme is expected to assist some 330 000 firms to obtain loans, helping them to create or save hundreds of thousands of jobs, and launch new business products, services or processes.

COSME builds upon the success of the current Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP).

COSME Programme

Source: European Commission