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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.

    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.

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    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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Previous editions

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