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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.

    REACH for the top

  • The business benefits of EU chemical regulation
    05/09 17:06 CET

    The business benefits of EU chemical regulation

    This time Business Planet is in Manchester to take a look at how a European regulation called REACH, which aims to make the use and production of industrial chemicals safe, can lead to the…

  • - Chemicals are part of modern industrialised economies. Most EU citizens consider them unavoidable in their daily lives, relate them to industrial innovations and demand information on their safe use.
  • - Nearly half of Europeans say they will not buy a new chemical product until it is not proven to be safe over time.
  • - The EU has the world's most advanced legislation on chemical safety – REACH. It aims to protect human health and the environment by managing chemical risks.
  • - SMEs outside the chemical sector are not aware that REACH applies to them if they are supplying and using chemicals or importing them into the EU. 70% of Dutch SMEs do not know about REACH, 50% of British manufacturers think it is not for them or not important for their business.
  • - REACH provides incentives for the replacement of harmful chemicals with safer alternatives. Companies can get support and turn legal obligations into business opportunities.

Useful links

    EU Financial instruments

  • Help at hand: making the most of EU financial support tools
    25/07 11:19 CET

    Help at hand: making the most of EU financial support tools

    It's not easy for aspiring European SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) to access the funding they need, especially in the early stages. But there are financial instruments provided by the EU at…

  • - The European Union supports entrepreneurs and businesses with a wide range of EU programmes facilitating access to loans, lease finance, guarantees and equity financing through financial institutions.
  • - By facilitating access to leasing by SMEs, EU programmes stimulate key investments and thus growth of enterprises.
  • - The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013) helped to mobilise more than €16 billion of loans and lease finance as well as €2.8 billion of venture capital to over 311,000 SMEs in Europe.
  • - From 2014 to 2020, the COSME programme will help up to 330,000 European SMEs by mobilising up to €25 billion of finance.

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    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.

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  • - 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

Previous editions

  1. How to get EU funds to grow your SME
  2. Italian Dolomites: not just for profit
  3. Educating entrepreneurs: university support for budding business leaders
  4. Sweet success in Dublin, the experience of being an entrepreneur
  5. Micro-management: why small businesses are flourishing in Latvia
  6. Kick start Korea
  7. Turning Japanese: European SMEs' eastern 'Gateway' to new markets
  8. The angels on entrepreneurs' shoulders
  9. Turning a troubled textile hub into a thriving business cluster
  10. Business Planet: Boom in Bilbao as entrepreneurs schooled
  11. Lean and green: Ecostars inspires competitiveness and fuel efficiency
  12. Boosting exports through networking
  13. Cashing in on culture - how businesses make money from Europe's history
  14. Get bigger, go public: SMEs launching on the stock exchange
  15. KETS: transforming innovation into competitive product
  16. Finding the right leader
  17. Clusters: powerful engines of economic development in Europe
  18. Greece: cooperatives wage war on recession and unemployment
  19. Business networks provide strength through unity
  20. New energy and new directions in Bulgaria
  21. 1,2,3, GO! Coaching and business development for innovative start-ups
  22. How JEREMIE helped a Maltese company take wing
  23. Two's Company in Belgium
  24. Meet the EU's female ambassadors for business
  25. Micro-credit brings organic growth in Ireland
  26. EU grants for eco-innovation
  27. Wired to the world
  28. Venture capital, a risky business?
  29. Go green, get growing
  30. Cooperative and competitive
  31. Incubating Spanish business
  32. Boosting Women Entrepreneurs
  33. Meeting targets
  34. Business parties in Swedish countryside
  35. Greek business clusters together to find strength in numbers
  36. Women entrepreneurs could be answer to crisis
  37. Taking business into Welsh schools
  38. Inheriting a business: how to make it a success
  39. New 'business hotel' scheme revives French region
  40. Setting up business in Latvia
  41. Business Planet battles bankruptcies
  42. Protecting the environment can be profitable
  43. Helping minorities into the EU job market
  44. Financing for the future
  45. Green light for green clusters
  46. Rising to new challenges
  47. Promoting female entrepreneurs
  48. Eco-labels: a smart strategy
  49. Moving on smoothly as companies change hands
  50. Angel dust magic for SMEs
  51. The Great Call of China
  52. How to protect your IPR in China
  53. Giving and receiving: social enterprise in Europe
  54. Erasmus: a win-win deal
  55. Recycling tyres: road to success