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Small and medium sized companies are the engine of Europe's economy, accounting for 80% of European jobs created in the last five years. In Business Planet, we talk to those entrepreneurs who have succeeded and find out how they did it.

    Renewable energy cooperatives and the social economy

  • Power to the people with renewable energy cooperation
    11/07 11:18 CET

    Power to the people with renewable energy cooperation

    In this edition of Business Planet we see how the European Network of Renewable Energy Source Cooperatives - known as REScoop - is making it easier to meet the EU's target of 20 percent of the…

  • - Responding to climate change, the EU is planning to get 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. This transition requires support and investment.
  • - The so-called social economy can help with the transition process. In the European Union, social economy activity now represents 10 percent of the European economy (GDP), it is also six percent of the region's total employment and is growing.
  • - Renewable Energy Source Cooperatives - REScoops - are intended to improve the energy market through innovation.
  • - They allow people to directly participate in renewable energy projects: indeed, every REScoop member can be involved in how energy is produced and delivered.
  • - There are approximately 3,000 REScoops across Europe. The movement benefits from the experience of more than 400 local and regional groups and cooperatives of citizens and provides financial and technical support for new projects.
  • - The emergence of new business models through the social economy was supported at the Strasbourg 2014 gathering of the European Social Business Initiative. This is an initiative aimed at creating a favourable environment for social enterprises.

Useful links

  • - Internationalisation is a key trend for businesses and it is very likely to increase as developing and emerging markets are expected to account for 60 percent of world GDP by 2030 (OECD). Currently, 25 percent of EU SMEs export and 13 percent of EU SMEs export outside the European Union.
  • - Internationalisation is strongly linked with innovation. Almost half of internationally active firms introduced some new product or service in the past three years versus only 20 percent of non-internationally active SMEs.
  • - Clusters encourage SMEs to become more innovative and international. Internationalising its members is a key priority for the FEMAC cluster. Its members have on average a 50 percent international turnover. This cluster is recognised for its management excellence.
  • - The European Cluster Collaboration Platform is an open platform for all European cluster organisations willing to find partners, and develop joint activities to assist their members, especially SMEs, to go international.

Useful links

    EU Funds for SMEs

  • How to get EU funds to grow your SME
    13/06 11:15 CET

    How to get EU funds to grow your SME

    In this edition of Business Planet, presented by Serge Rombi, we look at the European funds available to small and medium businesses and how they are used. How do they enable SMEs to innovate and…

  • - Between 2007 and 2013 the Cohesion Policy Investments supported more than 70,000 start-ups and more than 250,000 jobs were created in SMEs during this period, all through investments totally close to €70 billion.
  • - For the period 2014-2020, with an overall budget of more than €350 billion the new Cohesion Policy aims to improve significantly the support to SMEs, doubling its share of the budget to 140 billion.

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    Social franchising

  • Italian Dolomites: not just for profit
    30/05 11:16 CET

    Italian Dolomites: not just for profit

    In the stunning Cadore Valley in the heart of the Italian Dolomite mountains, for many years, the local economy thrived from making glasses but the sector hit an economic crisis ten years ago…

  • - The social economy in the European Union represents 10% of European GDP, 6% of total employment, and is still growing.
  • - Starting a social enterprise can be very difficult – it means trying to create a viable business while providing a social benefit.
  • - Social franchising increases the survival rate of a social startup in all kinds of sectors. Via social franchising skills are gained and a proven business model is used to compete more effectively.
  • - This practice has been recognised at the 2014 conference of the European Social Business Initiative, which aims at creating a favourable environment for social enterprises.
  • - The European Social Franchising Network promotes social franchising which can also work across different countries.

Useful links

Previous editions

  1. Educating entrepreneurs: university support for budding business leaders
  2. Sweet success in Dublin, the experience of being an entrepreneur
  3. Micro-management: why small businesses are flourishing in Latvia
  4. Kick start Korea
  5. Turning Japanese: European SMEs' eastern 'Gateway' to new markets
  6. The angels on entrepreneurs' shoulders
  7. Turning a troubled textile hub into a thriving business cluster
  8. Business Planet: Boom in Bilbao as entrepreneurs schooled
  9. Lean and green: Ecostars inspires competitiveness and fuel efficiency
  10. Boosting exports through networking
  11. Cashing in on culture - how businesses make money from Europe's history
  12. Get bigger, go public: SMEs launching on the stock exchange
  13. KETS: transforming innovation into competitive product
  14. Finding the right leader
  15. Clusters: powerful engines of economic development in Europe
  16. Greece: cooperatives wage war on recession and unemployment
  17. Business networks provide strength through unity
  18. New energy and new directions in Bulgaria
  19. 1,2,3, GO! Coaching and business development for innovative start-ups
  20. How JEREMIE helped a Maltese company take wing
  21. Recycling tyres: road to success
  22. Erasmus: a win-win deal
  23. Giving and receiving: social enterprise in Europe
  24. How to protect your IPR in China
  25. Two's Company in Belgium
  26. Meet the EU's female ambassadors for business
  27. Micro-credit brings organic growth in Ireland
  28. EU grants for eco-innovation
  29. Wired to the world
  30. Venture capital, a risky business?
  31. Go green, get growing
  32. Cooperative and competitive
  33. Incubating Spanish business
  34. Boosting Women Entrepreneurs
  35. Meeting targets
  36. Business parties in Swedish countryside
  37. Greek business clusters together to find strength in numbers
  38. Women entrepreneurs could be answer to crisis
  39. Taking business into Welsh schools
  40. Inheriting a business: how to make it a success
  41. New 'business hotel' scheme revives French region
  42. Setting up business in Latvia
  43. Business Planet battles bankruptcies
  44. Protecting the environment can be profitable
  45. Helping minorities into the EU job market
  46. Financing for the future
  47. Green light for green clusters
  48. Rising to new challenges
  49. Promoting female entrepreneurs
  50. Eco-labels: a smart strategy
  51. Moving on smoothly as companies change hands
  52. Angel dust magic for SMEs
  53. The Great Call of China

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