The European Commission has approved a Hungarian scheme to support the agri-food value chain in the context of the coronavirus outbreak, which is expected to mobilise at least approximately €314 million (approx. HUF 111 billion). The scheme will be open to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in all sectors, but is aimed at the wider agri-food value chain. The objective of the measure is to provide those companies with financial means to cover their immediate working capital and investment needs, and help them maintain their activities during these difficult times.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This Hungarian guarantee scheme, expected to mobilise at least €314 million, will support the Hungarian agriculture and food industry, as well as the wider agriculture and bio-economy value chain. This measure will improve the liquidity of businesses and help them continue their activities in these difficult times. We continue working closely with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place quickly and effectively, in line with EU rules.”
The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020. The Temporary Framework enables Member States to combine support measures, with the exception of loans and guarantees for the same loan and exceeding the thresholds foreseen by the Temporary Framework.
The Framework allows Member States to provide the following types of aid:
- Direct grants, equity injections, selective tax advantages and advance payments
- State guarantees for loans taken by companies
- Subsidised public loans to companies
- Safeguards for banks that channel State aid to the real economy
- Public short-term export credit insurance
- Support for coronavirus related research and development (R&D)
- Support for the construction and upscaling of testing facilities
- Support for the production of products relevant to tackle the coronavirus outbreak
- Targeted support in the form of deferral of tax payments and/or suspensions of social security contributions
- Targeted support in the form of wage subsidies for employees
More detailed information on the Temporary Framework can be found here.
The full original press release can be found here in the Commission Press Corner.
During these unpredictable and uncertain times we have seen an explosion in the number of events and the amount of content and advice available online. Whilst this wealth of knowledge can be valuable for businesses, the volume can sometimes be quite overwhelming and it can be difficult to find what you are looking for. At Promoting Enterprise we have collected information on a few different events covering various topics of interests for SMEs to help in your search.
Let us know your thoughts on the events and get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want us to feature your event in an upcoming post!
Blockchain for SMEs–Hype or Opportunity?
This discussion focused on blockchain from the perspective of SMEs and featured entrepreneurs Petko Karamotchev , Jeroen Perquin and Enrico Talin, who presented their visions for the development of blockchain technologies and demonstrated their own use cases and applications. In addition, Mikuláš Peksa, Member of the European Parliament, addressed the issue of regulation surrounding blockchain. The discussion was moderated by Sebastiano Toffaletti, Secretary-General at European Digital SME Alliance.
Watch the webinar here.
Project meetings online
On 12 May at 10:00 (CET) Interreg Europe project partners will share their experience in using online meetings in their project work as well as their tips and tricks for navigating different tools. Find out more and register here. You can also access their previous webinar and summary on online meetings here.
Digitalising the commercial lending process in times of crisis
On 19 May at 15:00 (BST) expert speakers will discuss the digitalisation of commercial lending and how it could help small businesses during the current pandemic. This webinar will cover useful topics such as: ‘How e-signatures can help meet the urgent need for small business loans’ and ‘How ID document verification can help prevent fraud in the digital channel’, as well as security and authentication tips.
Register and find out more here.
Mind the Bridge Influence Virtual Summit
Looking for information on how to optimise your accounting? Perhaps you want to find out more about responsibly incorporating AI into your accounting? At the Mind the Bridge Influence Virtual Summit accounting professionals will have opportunities to exchange, learn best practices and listen to knowledgeable speakers on how to adapt and move forward with finance.
Visit the event website for more information.
Reviewing and re-setting your marketing strategy during the COVID-19 outbreak
The AD:VENTURE programme, supported by the 2014 – 2020 European Regional Development Fund, has invited guest speaker Jonny Ross (founder and digital marketing specialist at Fleek Marketing) to provide insight and share advice and techniques on all forms of marketing, including planning and strategy for these difficult times.
Find out more and register here.
Running an online event you think we should feature? Or perhaps you have seen another event you think should be on this list? Then please leave a comment or get in touch with us: email@example.com
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.
‘INNOSUP-1’ is the Horizon 2020 funding programme of cluster-facilitated projects for new industrial value chains. The programme supports SMEs to develop new value chains that cross business sectors. It boosts innovation by combining expertise from different domains.
13 INNOSUP-1 projects have been supporting SMEs to date and five more were launched in May 2019.
What does innovation support do for SMEs?
SMEs have great potential to create new products and services. However, they often face challenges that could be solved thanks to cross-sector cooperation.
INNOSUP-1 gives SMEs the support they need to join the dots and create disruptive innovations. It connects SMEs with other SMEs or larger organisations across many sectors to create new value chains. By doing so, the programme enables SMEs to transfer technologies, strategies and approaches.
There are many positive impacts. SMEs from all sectors develop their business via these innovative value chains. European citizens benefit from improved products, reduced environmental impact, growth and new job opportunities.
53 clusters delivering the projects
The INNOSUP-1 projects are delivered by consortia of experts coming from SMEs, consultancies and research organisations.
Many of these project partners are cluster organisations. Clusters are groups of enterprises that collaborate closely with each other. The 13 projects that have been active so far were delivered by 139 partners. Two out of 5 of these partners were cluster organisations and between them they counted 6,500 SMEs among their members.
More than 3,200 SMEs reached
The INNOSUP-1 projects have established contact with at least 3,200 SMEs to date. This number will increase as the new projects launch their calls for support. The new projects aim to reach almost 1,500 SMEs in total and to give innovation support to over 600 of them.
Over 1,600 SMEs supported
To date, INNOSUP-1 projects have provided innovation support services for over 1,600 SMEs. These SMEs are located across Europe and beyond. They were present in 27 of the EU Member States and nine of the 16 Horizon 2020 associated countries.
€26 million spent on innovation support for SMEs so far, which will rise to a total of €63 million
All INNOSUP-1 projects are required to spend at least 75% of their budgets on innovation support services for SMEs. Innovation support services can take the form of funding, vouchers for specialised services, workshops, mentoring, and online platforms.
SMEs have to date received over €26 million in innovation support services from INNOSUP-1. As the new and ongoing projects continue, this figure will rise to over €63 million.
The modern world is full of both challenges and solutions, yet how can we ensure that innovative minds are made aware of the problems they can solve? Where can those with a solution connect with those who need their ideas? The Social Challenges Innovation Platform answers those needs and provides a marketplace and meeting hub for those with a challenge, to conect with those with an innovative solution.
The platform provides a place for exchange and an opportunity to build partnerships to feed the European Social Ecosystem with innovative solutions. The platform supports Public Authorities, Private Companies, and Third Sector Organisations, referred to as Challenge Owners, through the process of identifying social and environmental challenges, and deciding which ones should be uploaded to the platform.
Once uploaded to the platform, the challenges can be viewed by Solution Providers which can be social innovators, startups, SMEs or other innovators. The providers then use the platform to accelerate their innovations and connect with those who need them most. Solution Providers can also apply for the open calls, and submit proposals to receive a grant of up to EUR 30.000 along with six months of mentoring to fully develop solutions to be used by Challenge Owners.
Watch the web-series about the socialchallenges.eu projects here:
SMEs represent 99% of businesses in Europe and contribute to 60% of European private sector employment, creating 85% of new jobs. Enabling them to benefit even more from the Single Market is a priority for the European Commission. And in this light, it has been already 10 years since the European Union-funded program Erasmus For Young Entrepreneurs was launched as an initiative of the European Parliament. As a critical action of the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, the program aims to reignite entrepreneurial spirit in Europe, support new businesses in crucial phases of their lifecycle and help them to grow.
In essence, Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a cross-border programme facilitating the exchange of entrepreneurial and management experience. The exchange is implemented by a stay of a newly established or potential entrepreneur with a well-experienced entrepreneur running a small or medium-sized enterprise in another country.
The two main actors are 1. The New Entrepreneurs (NE), understood both as nascent entrepreneurs, who are firmly planning to start their own business and entrepreneurs who have recently launched their own business with less than three years of operability and 2. The Host Entrepreneurs (HE) or successful and experienced entrepreneurs directly involved in entrepreneurship at SME level with more than 3 years of entrepreneurial experience.
The exchange is facilitated by national Intermediary Organisations (IOs) that have been officially appointed to establish contacts between NEs and HEs and to ensure successful relationships between them. They exist to provide with the perfect match and help both parts with everything related to promotion, information, induction, validation or improvement of applications, arranging contacts, issuing contracts, logistical support, or simple advice and guidance through the process.
Seems like a good deal, right? But if you still need a thought, get convinced by these five additional excellent reasons to boost your business with Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.
1. It brings fresh air to your business
3. It doesn’t entail any extra cost
4. It is flexible
5. It is easy
Read the full original article on Forbes.
However, at the stage when SMEs are growing, they need considerable financial resources to continue investments in product development and clinical trials, in order to bring their products to market faster. To tackle these challenges the EIC pilot and Medtronic promoted a matchmaking and business acceleration event in Tolochenaz, Switzerland, home of Medtronic’s EMEA headquarters.
20 companies backed by the EIC pilot took the stage and shared their innovative health care solutions for medical devices and therapies, mobile and remote health, patient engagement, diagnostics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, data analytics and robotics.
At the event, we talked to Ger Hill, Senior Director Global Innovation at Medtronic, about Medtronic’s innovation strategy and learned that “For a company like Medtronic who has currently reached around 30B$ in revenue, maintaining revenue growth requires us to draw on innovation not only from our substantial organic internal innovation, but also from external partners. There are a lot of smart people who don’t work at Medtronic, and we want to collaborate with them to turn their ideas and concepts into products and solutions for patients and Medtronic.”
We also spoke with Charity Kufaas, Vice President, Business Development & Strategy EMEA at Medtronic, who shared her view on the quality of the companies attending: “The technologies of the companies I’ve seen today are truly innovative and address unmet needs. There were a number that we found really interesting and which I’m sure we’ll follow up after the event.”
Sourced from EASME.
Read the original article on the EASME website.
Back in 2017, the project “Business Generator” from Sweden, won the EEPA Category “Investing in entrepreneurial skills” for their work in identifying the gap in the strategic management process for SME companies, as well as a way to reach SMEs and provide them with useful skills for their daily lives as entrepreneurs.
After initial struggles to keep the Business Generator going after the EEPA competition, this project, and specifically coordinator Anette Rhudin, are back with a brand new and improved ‘Navigator Scale-up’. The Navigator serves as a support for SMEs that need to have a board under Swedish law. Due to financial constraints it is normally a challenge for SMEs and entrepreneurs to have an external board not made up of family and friends, and thus miss the chance, to have that input, that the right matched, external competence can give. Having a competent board can help avoid bankruptcy, develop necessary company procedures and aid in the overall management of the SME.
Through the Navigator SMEs can be matched with externals that serve as a board or ‘navigators’, without taking away control from the SME. The Navigator is a particularly good option for SMEs looking to scale up, as the externals are there to coach, ask critical questions and offer guidance based on their extensive experience. Through their experience, external board members are able to make SMEs aware of ‘hazards’ and guide them so as to avoid expensive failures.
Positive changes can only happen in a safe environment, which is why a Navigator’s primary task is help the entrepreneur navigate a changeable environment and give them enough control to feel safe and be able to scale up their company. One of the crucial success factors in the Business Generator project was that the four external navigator members had all gone on their own scalable business journeys. Being able to understand the current entrepreneur’s experience enables externals to truly coach and give the best advice to the SME they are assisting.
The Navigator has already been helping several SMEs, specifically OptiPack, an SME in a typical small Swedish village which started last year. Optipack began with four young people who had no experience of owning a company and who required a bank loan to get started. In order to qualify for a loan they needed an external board with experienced members, which is where Business Navigator came in to help. After being assigned a Navigator team they began to advance, thanks to the collective experience of their external board members who between them are experienced businesspeople and own large international companies.
Thanks to help from their Navigator, Optipack were able to invest EUR 2 428 882 in their latest product and continue working and developing.
Optipak are a successful example of what a Navigator can do for an SME, and we hope to keep coming back with more success stories as the Business Navigator gets bigger and spreads its message, support and advocacy for SMEs.
25 years after its creation, the Single Market is a vast success. It has improved the living standards for EU citizens and 56 million jobs within the EU depend on trade created by the Single Market. Furthermore, it has increased the competitiveness of the European businesses globally and made the EU the largest exporter of goods and services in the world.
Nevertheless, the Single Market is neither perfect nor complete. In fact, increasing regulatory complexity is challenging European businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Each year, the amount of national technical regulation keeps piling up which makes it more difficult for SMEs to expand their activities across Europe. At the European level SME’s also experience confusion from partially overlapping rules. This means that SMEs do not necessarily know which rules apply to them – they simply do not understand which rules to follow.
To further increase the complexity of the regulatory environment, the traditional divide between goods and services is also disappearing. From a business point of view, the division between a Single Market for Goods and a Single Market for services no longer exists. In reality, a good is often sold with an accompanying service. Unfortunately, the legislation has not followed this development which often makes the legislation out of touch with reality.
The Single Market was created to benefit citizens and businesses, but too often the legislation is purely made from a law-makers perspective. This leads to rules and procedures that are difficult for the end user to understand and to comply with. Another problem is the lack of focus on digitisation. More user-friendly digital solutions would make life much easier for SMEs. Looking ahead we need to think digital first, but when we digitize we need to think small first.
To address the above-mentioned challenges and to create a less complex Single Market to the benefit of European SMEs, this report suggests the following three approaches to enhancing the Single Market:
A one-stop shop coordinating replies across contact points
European businesses are met by many different portals, entrances and information websites. Some are national, while other are European. Created with the best intentions, these contact points have not succeeded in giving the SMEs an overview of the rules and procedures which they need to comply with, as there are many different contact points, and they occasionally give answers pointing in different directions. There is a need for the European Commission to ensure a one-stop shop in every Member State that can effectively provide businesses with the necessary overview of which rules they need to comply with, how they comply with the procedures, which documents they need to provide, and which authorities they must contact. The information available through the one-stop shop should cover all business-related aspects. The one-stop shop should therefore provide a coordinated answer across the existing contact points established by EU regulations. The one-stop shop will provide a coordinated answer from all the relevant contact points after having coordinated with the competent authorities behind the contact points, thereby making it easier for businesses to understand and comply with the relevant administrative and legislative procedures.
Future legislation made with the end user in mind
All future legislation must be made with the end user in mind. It must be easy to understand which rules and procedures the SME’s must comply with, and the corresponding administrative steps should be easy to follow. Often the procedure rather than the regulation creates problems for the SME’s. Therefore – in order to make the procedures as easy as possible – the end user’s perspective should be incorporated from the drafting stage of the regulation. A specific way of doing this is through so-called “life events” where an end user’s journey through for example an administrative process is mapped step by step. When such processes are mapped, it is possible to see which steps are more burdensome for businesses and where there is a need for simplification.
Legislation that is digital by default
One of the clear advantages of digitisation is how it can reduce the complexity of the Single Market by helping businesses through digital solutions. However, in order to fully reap the benefits of digitisation, it must be taken into account already when drafting new legislation and used to reduce complexity for SMEs. Furthermore, the development of the digital SME Envoy network economy such as Internet of Things, sharing economy and cloud computing will only create a higher demand for digital infrastructure and the very user-friendly solutions set out by legislation. However, it can be difficult to establish user-friendly digital solutions for cross-border businesses due to various factors. One of them being that EU regulation is often created in regulatory silos.
The Single Market is one of the greatest achievements of the European Union. It solves problems and enables trade, jobs and well-being every day. But the time is ripe to take a user perspective on the rules and update them to the everyday reality of businesses and consumers.
Read the full report from the European SME Envoy Network here.
The MEAINDEX platform, an online toolbox for business entrepreneurs, was initiated in September 2015, and was then launched during the Maltese edition of the European SME Week. This platform then evolved into an online directory which acts as an SME hub and facilitates SME understanding of the local business ecosystem. The online portal officially went live in June 2018, and is both endorsed and supported by the Commissioner for Simplification within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta, and the Malta Communications Authority together with a number of collaborative entities.
The platform is run by the Malta’s Employer’s Association and supported by various Maltese institutions and authorities, including Malta Enterprise, the Family Businesses Office and the Malta Office of the European Commission.
What does the tool do?
The online toolbox provides accessible information for potential entrepreneurs as well as existing business actors in Malta. It explains the bureaucracy they will encounter, guides entrepreneurs through the necessary steps to set up their business, and helps individuals and companies identify relevant entities and individuals to help them on their business journeys.
The tool also offers additional practical information on trade licenses, updated legislation and the development of policies. It is also a resource for SMEs to consults relevant statistics, both at European and local level. Finally, the tool also acts as an address book, and currently has over 173 individual entities registered within its database.
This online platform offers SMEs solutions and allows them to navigate the bureaucracy of starting an enterprise with all of the necessary support and connections.
Visit the toolbox here.