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Tag ‘SMEs’

Hungarian agri-food SMEs to receive support under the Commission’s State aid Temporary Framework

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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.

Event spotlight: Useful advice and information for SMEs

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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 (promotingenterprise@gopacom.eu) 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: promotingenterprise@gopacom.eu

SME Week Newsletter 2020: Issue #3

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Welcome to the April edition of the SME Week Newsletter.

This month has certainly been different, and for some in our Promoting Enterprise community it has been particularly challenging. April has seen many policy changes and updates, Commission initiatives, hackathons and further actions. We have seen SMEs pitching in and doing their part, pushes and drives to make funding available to those in need, and a strong commitment to keeping the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit alive.

On behalf of the Promoting Enterprise team we hope that you continue to stay well, healthy and safe, and we are committed to bringing you the latest updates and inspiring stories.

Thank you for continuing to subscribe and do not forget to submit your news, articles and updates to be featured in an upcoming issue.

Read more >>

SUBSCRIBE AND DON´T MISS ANY UPDATES

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/

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:

ELIIT Project – Call for applications

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The European light industries innovation and technology project (ELIIT Project) seeks to support textile, clothing, leather and footwear (TCLF) SMEs in enhancing their competitiveness while helping them integrate new technologies in innovative or high added-value products, processes or services.

ELIIT will support TCLF SMEs in implementing the excellent research results achieved in many technological areas by providers and owners of novel innovative and disruptive technologies such as Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), digital technologies, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), etc.

These partnerships will pair technology owners/providers and TCLF SMEs for a period of 12-18 months during which each partnership will receive:

  • €70 000 in financial support to develop products or prototypes with high added-value and profitability
  • tailor-made coaching and advice to improve project relevancy and increase capabilities
  • networking activities and participation in workshops/conferences and exhibitions to aid market-positioning as well as build business relationships
  • SME tailored support to strengthen intellectual property rights protection

So how can you apply for ELIIT support? Applicants will need to register and apply before 31 March 2020.

Visit the ELIIT page for more information.

INNOSUP Innovation Associate programme: making SMEs thrive

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SMEs encounter multiple challenges over their life cycle. They are often unable to access skills and knowledge and they experience more obstacles when having to recruit specialised professionals. 

This is where the INNOSUP Innovation Associate programme comes into play. The programme provides grants at European level to SMEs to employ a highly-skilled researcher – the ‘innovation associate’ – for a continuous period of one year. The associate’s task will be to turn the SME’s innovative idea into an innovation project.

Gaining such expertise can have many advantages. In the case of Intrapore GmbH, a German SME working on groundwater decontamination, the innovation associate brought knowledge from previous international research projects. The associate’s work enabled the company to modernise its remediation planning approach completely and helped unlock the potential of Intrapore business plan.

According to AMIGO, an Italian SME working on climate system analysis, its innovative project could not have proceeded without the innovation associate. Firstly, the SME was able to acquire her scientific background and expertise in extreme events identification and attribution. Secondly the associate supported the consolidation of an existing climate service prototype.

In the case of TubaScan, a Dutch SME dealing with molecular diagnostics, the associate managed to broaden the network of the SME thanks to new partnerships and collaborations. 

All three researchers received a longer contract in the SME at the end of the one year. Furthermore, they were able to gain new expertise through training courses organised by the programme.

In fact, during the 12 months of employment covered by the grant, as a part of the funding scheme, every associate participates in a training programme on industrial innovation and business management. At the same time, SMEs get financial support to implement a training and development plan tailored to the needs of the associate and the enterprise. 

Personnel costs, relocation costs, and travel and subsistence costs: everything is covered by the grant. 

The new call for the INNOSUP Innovation associate programme is now open until 15 January 2020. Do not miss this opportunity. Submit your application!

Read the original article on the EASME website.

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 – Why should you enter?

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is open for the fourth time and is asking applicants to:

“Write the speech that you would give as the new Commissioner for SMEs and entrepreneurship to Europe’s entrepreneurs”

If you are between the ages of 18-25 and are a citizen of an EU or COSME partner country, then this is your chance to have your voice heard. The Youth Essay Competition is a chance to share your thoughts and opinions with key policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European platform within the domains of enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

The competition is a great opportunity to voice your opinion, and should you be a finalist, to visit the SME Assembly 2019, but why else should you enter? Here on Promoting Enterprise we asked last year’s finalists and winner why they entered the competition. Read through their answers below, get inspired and be sure to submit your entry before 16 August 2019.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I have always believed that innovation – in its holistic sense – is the gateway to creating a smart and sustainable future. Therefore, when I came across the competition advert on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, I decided to put pen to paper and give this opportunity my best shot!

  • Marija Elena Borg, 2018 winner

I just happened to be surfing the web and looking at upcoming events in Europe, and came across the essay competition information by chance. At the time it was the middle of August and I was enjoying a break from my studies, but after reading the question I thought it would be an interesting challenge. I am very passionate about the EU and its values, and I wanted to discover what I thought about innovation. Truthfully, it was not something I had thought about a lot, but after my research it has really grown on me, and I’m now very interested in how I can create and find innovation in my career path.

  • Ngaio Olsen-Stahl, 2018 finalist

The topic was very interesting, and one that I had thought a lot about beforehand. Therefore, I felt very inspired to write a contribution to the competition. It was a good opportunity to address questions about sustainable and environmental innovation, which are quite dear to me, and the chance to attend the SME Assembly was one that I also did not want to miss.

  • Joakim Davidsson, 2018 finalist

For any questions on the SME Week Youth Essay competition, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and read the competition launch post for all of the information on this year’s edition.

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