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Raising awareness and giving advice on EU legislation, standards and policies

Sometimes it can be difficult for companies without the necessary internal resources to remain abreast of changes in EU legislation and policy programmes. The network can provide this data and explain the potential implications for individual companies.

Accessing EU projects and funding

Too often, small businesses are not fully aware of the many different sources of EU financing - regional, social, research, environmental - that exist and for which they are potentially eligible. The network aims to overcome this knowledge gap and ensure companies, either individually or in consortia, are aware of the possibilities available.

Providing an internet platform for cross-border cooperation

Sharing the results of research can trigger new ideas and new opportunities, stimulating firms to develop beyond their initial horizons. The network can help develop these exchanges and nurture potential partnerships.

Organising business cooperation among SMEs

An estimated one million European SMEs could be involved in cross-border trade and investment, if only they could call on the appropriate support services. The network will organise one-to-one match making meetings to help identify trustworthy partners. All requests are treated in confidence. Basic  details of would-be link-ups are stored in a business cooperation database. These are widely circulated and easily accessible.

Promoting innovation

To better convert innovation into commercial success, the network provides support services to encourage SMEs, especially in their early stages, to become more innovative. These are either based on existing EU programmes, such as Europe INNOVA and PRO-INNO Europe, or on Member States programmes promoted at regional and national level, or involve exchange of best practice  with like-minded businesses.

Going international

Fewer than one in ten SMEs do business outside their own country, despite the abolition of national barriers and the opportunities firms with comparative advantages can find in niche markets. By using established contact points, the network can provide specialised advice for companies wishing to expand their operations abroad - not just within the EU, but also further afield.

Providing feedback

The Commission will use the network to receive regular feedback from companies to ensure that the policies and initiatives it prepares suit their requirements and will not lead to unnecessary bureaucracy that could harm their competitiveness and innovation potential.

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Last update: Tuesday, 2 July 2013 09:38

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