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Archive for ‘Promoting Enterprise News’

Call for applications – Science is Wonderful! 2020

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Science is Wonderful! brings the world of science, research and innovation to the public. This year, the exhibition will take place fully online from 22 to 24 September as part of the second edition of the European Research and Innovation Days.

Through an array of digital activities, researchers will interact with children, students and citizens,explain what researchers’ role is in a post-crisis context and highlight how research impacts citizens’ daily lives. The event will also address hundreds of stakeholders from all over Europe in the framework of the European Research and Innovation Days.

This is a unique opportunity to put your outreach and communication skills into action, be impactful andshow how you are contributing to develop solutions addressing the current crisis, its consequences and the priorities that will be at the core of the recovery.

We are looking for EU-funded projects working in all disciplines and speaking all languages to participate in the online exhibition. If you are convinced that you are up to this exciting e-encounter with many fledgling future scientists, citizens and stakeholders, please fill in the online form by 5 July 2020.

If your application is successful, you will be contacted to prepare your activities.

For any questions concerning your application, please contact the EU R&I Days communication team.

The SME Strategy

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“SMEs are the backbone of Europe’s economy” is a statement that many of us have likely heard or come across in various European publications. But how is this essential backbone supported? What policy exists to ensure that our European SMEs are able to operate and thrive within our entrepreneurial ecosystems?

One important part of the European framework that exists to support SMEs is the SME Strategy, released by the European Commission in March 2020. In developing this Strategy, the European Commission kept the variety in function, size and make-up of European SMEs firmly in mind, while also recognising their individual requirements and the need to support the innovation, jobs and diversity that they bring to the EU economy.

Within the SME Strategy the Commission puts forwards actions clustered around three main pillars:

  • Capacity-building and support for the transition to sustainability and digitalisation;
  • Reducing regulatory burden and improving market access; and
  • Improving access to financing.

The SME Strategy is part of the “New Industrial Strategy for Europe” and can be consulted in full here.

The European Entrepreneurial Region Award 2021-2022 – Call to Apply

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The European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) Award, run by the Secretary-General of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), is now open for applications. The submission deadline is 28 October 2020.

The current call for applications covers the merged 2021 and 2022 edition of the EER Award and is open to “all EU territories below the level of the Member State that are endowed with competences at a political level and able to implement an overall entrepreneurial vision, regardless of their size, wealth or specific competences”.

The original EER 2021 call was launched at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki with an original deadline of 31 March 2020, later extended to 15 April 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the EER jury decided to re-open the call and change the focus to Entrepreneurship for a sustainable recovery. In light of the current health crisis and economic circumstances, the EER jury also decided to merge both the 2020 and 2021 calls, in order to allow for the challenging need to re-draft various regional development plans and strategies that were in force prior to the crisis.

The application form is available on the EER web page. Any applications received after the deadline of 28 October 2020 will not be eligible.

For more information on eligibility, evaluation criteria and the Award please visit the EER website.

PARSEC Accelerator launches Open Call 2 for SMEs innovating in food, energy or environment

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The PARSEC Accelerator invites SMEs and start-ups to meet the 100 winners of Open Call 1 to jointly develop Earth Observation-based business solutions for the food, energy or environment sectors and apply to the Open Call 2.

The PARSEC Open Call 2 will distribute €1.5 million equity-free funding to 15 winning consortia and provide access to business support services (investment readiness program, export promotion and coaching) and the PARSEC Business Catalysts in order to help their solutions enter the global market.

The PARSEC Accelerator is uniquely positioned to help SMEs and start-ups benefit from the rapid evolution of the Earth Observation sector, enabled by new, maturing and converging technologies such as cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence. The PARSEC Business Catalysts, three tools supporting big data processing, in situ data access and access to an Earth Observation marketplace, represent an exceptional opportunity for start-ups and innovative SMEs looking for efficient ways to launch their innovations.

In order to apply for the second Open Call, external SMEs or start-ups have to team up with one of the winners from Open Call 1 and form a cross-sectoral and/or cross-border consortium of 2-4 organisations. The PARSEC Accelerator will facilitate networking for interested SMEs and startups via the online PARSEC matchmaking platform. To join the matchmaking register for free here. You will receive an invitation to join within 48 hours of registering.

The deadline to apply is 20 June 2020 at 17:00 CET. Eligible consortia will be invited to pitch their business ideas in front of a jury of experts at the PARSEC Demo Days on 2-3 July 2020.

For more information visit the PARSEC website, watch the Info Webinar and for any questions get in touch with the Accelerator here.

Supporting digital skills development in European SMEs

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The original article can be found on the EASME website.

Digitalisation is amongst the various challenges that European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must face in today’s climate. SMEs need to keep pace with current digital transformation and digitalisation in order to provide digital solutions and thus, keep up and keep their place in their respective markets.

One aspect of digitalisation for all companies big and small, is the skills that are needed to implement the new digital solutions, and how to acquire them. In order to respond to this need, the COSME “Skills for SMEs” project, which aims to research and support how SMEs can obtain the key skills needed in the fields of big data, internet of things (IoT) and cybersecurity, is helping SMEs to acquire those skills and not fall behind.

Digital transformation is important for SMEs as it can present unique opportunities. However in order to fully exploit those opportunities, SMEs must invest in training themselves and developing their digital skills in order to overcome existing skills gaps and mismatches.

The “Skills for SMEs” project worked with key experts and other stakeholders to collect information and identify ways to facilitate digital skills development for SMEs. One of the conclusions was that “ambitious skills policies and well-targeted supporting measures at EU and national level are of utmost importance to facilitate the access of SMEs to a larger European talent pool”.

To find out more about this project consult the brochure and for more detailed information have a look at the final report.

Intellectual Property and SMEs

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Intellectual property (IP) can improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and provide a potential source of revenue. However, SMEs often lack the time, resources, or knowledge to address IP issues.

What is Intellectual Property?

As defined by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a self-funding agency of the United Nations, Intellectual Property (IP) “refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.”[1]

With different types of IP such as Copyright, trademarks, Patents and more, IP represents a potential source of income for SMEs that may be overlooked.

Where can I learn more about IP and get advice?

Learning about IP and the associated rights is important and the EU funds specialised helpdesks staffed by experts. These helpdesks provide multilingual support, advice, training sessions and further IP related information.  

There are four different EU funded helpdesks to choose from:

Learn more about European IP support for SMEs and discover further resources right here.


[1] https://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/

Digital Academy – A chance to develop digital skills

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Are you an SME looking for further digital skills training? Still looking for the exact training for your needs? Look no further!

The European Digital Academy was launched in early 2020 by the European Commission with support from the European Parliament. The project aims to make emerging technological information and knowledge more accessible to SMEs. The project is coordinated by the EUN Partnership together with the following partner organisations: DIGITALEUROPE, REAKTOR, European DIGITAL SME Alliance, and Public Libraries 2030.

As part of their efforts to build an information hub for SMEs, the European Digital Academy has launched a survey to assess the current training supply available to SMEs.

Take this opportunity to make your SME voice heard and fill out the survey about available trainings for SMEs and citizens right here.

What measures are in place for Europe’s SMEs during COVID-19?

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SMEs are often said to be the backbone of Europe’s economy, but what measures have been put in place to help them?

This special episode of Business Planet from Euronews, in collobration with the European Commission, looks at the support that is being mobilised to support Europe’s 25 million SMEs. In an interview with Serge Rombi from Euronews President of SME UNITED Alban Maggiar, spoke of the “exceptional measures” being put in place and the need to keep the Single Market at the heart of all action taken and honour its borderless principles.

He mentioned the increased flexibility for Member States to grant loans to struggling SMEs and tools to help governments support companies and guarantee jobs. In addition he stressed the need for large companies to pay suppliers and sub-contractors, to avoid SMEs having to pay the price for unpaid bills.

Mr Maggiar called for entrepreneurs to hold on and stick together, as well as calling on big decision makers to honour commitments to smaller ones.

For more information read the original Euronews article.   

What can you do as a consumer to support small businesses?

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The current situation with the spread of COVID-19 is challenging for many and is a particularly uncertain and stressful time for small businesses. As a consumer you have spending power and influence, which you can choose to use to help support your favourite local and small businesses. But how exactly can you help?

At the moment several governments and international bodies have taken strict and necessary measures to “flatten the curve” and control the COVID-19 outbreak. Whilst these measures are necessary for public safety and to ensure that health services and infrastructures can cope, they have affected many businesses, both large and small.

The results of these measures range from severely reduced business, to none at all, and the need to find alternative solutions in order to survive. Some businesses have gone online; others are making that transition, or finding other ways to continue providing services during these uncertain times.

But how can you use your consumer power to support small and local businesses? What action can you take to help?

Have a look through some easy tips below:

  • Order online and provide regular business
    • Want to keep your favourite businesses open? Continue being a regular customer and recommend their services to others. Several businesses are developing and expanding their online presence to cater to new demand, so have a look at what is on offer.
    • Have a look at dedicated online platforms that support local business
  • Use food delivery and takeaway services
    • Many restaurants and other Food & Beverage businesses are having to adapt to fewer or no customers. Continue to support them and their employees by using food delivery and takeaway services.
  • Buy gift cards from small businesses as presents or to use later
    • Don’t need anything from ‘non-essential’ small businesses at the moment? Buy a gift card or a voucher! These small businesses also need your support and even if you don’t need their products right now you can always offer them as a gift or save the voucher to use at a later date, while providing a lifeline for small business.
  • Avoid pausing memberships where possible
    • Has your small independent gym, yoga studio or other small fitness establishment offered to pause your membership? This is an important source of revenue for small fitness businesses, so why not ask about online options or remote individual sessions and consultations?

Got any other suggestions? Write them in the comments and share your tips for helping and supporting small businesses.

Sources and useful resources:

Making Europe’s businesses future-ready

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The European Commission has developed an industrial policy package to help Europe’s industry lead the twin transitions towards climate neutrality and digital leadership. The package aims to drive Europe’s competitiveness and its strategic autonomy at a time of moving geopolitical plates and increasing global competition.

The package of initiatives outlines a new approach to European industrial policy that is firmly rooted in European values and social market traditions. It sets out a range of actions to support all players of European industry, including big and small companies, innovative start-ups, research centres, service providers, suppliers and social partners. A dedicated strategy for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) aims to reduce red tape and help Europe’s numerous SMEs to do business across the single market and beyond, access financing and help lead the way on the digital and green transitions. Today’s initiatives also include concrete steps to address barriers to a well-functioning single market, Europe’s strongest asset to allow all our businesses to grow and compete in Europe and beyond.

The industrial policy package includes the following initiatives:

  • A new industrial strategy
  • A new SME strategy
  • A single market that delivers for our businesses and consumers

For more information read the full announcement and consult the factsheet.

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