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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.

    Enterprise Europe Network

  • Making the most of the net effect
    19/09 15:30 CET

    Making the most of the net effect

    In this edition of Business Planet we visit London and the Czech Republic to discover how to make the most of the Enterprise Europe Network, a contact group for thousands of SMEs linked through…

  • - Trade of goods in the Single Market represents over 20% of the European GDP. ¼ of Europe's 20 million SMEs trade with other EU countries.
  • - The Enterprise Europe Network offers free services and support to European SMEs to help them make the most of the Single Market. These include finding distributors, licensing new technologies, and getting advice on European funding or legislation.
  • - The network representatives advise and support individual SMES according to their specific needs through their experience and their contacts. Their database contains thousands of company profiles. SMEs can meet potential business partners in person at matchmaking events.
  • - The Enterprise Europe Network is made up of over 600 business support organisations. Organisations cover every EU country and more than 20 countries outside the EU.

Useful links

    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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Previous editions

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