Rafael from Poland: I just want to ask how the European Union is going to help small companies to grow in the united market and survive the recession.
Daniel Crespo Calleja, European Commission Special Envoy for SMEs responds:
The European Union can help SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in Europe in three different ways. First of all, we want to facilitate your access to our internal market. The EU internal market is the largest unified market in the world with 500 million inhabitants, and there are business opportunities that should be used by all the companies.
Only one out of four companies exports outside its [home] country, and we should make this figure higher. There are many significant opportunities, and we are working to eliminate the barriers so that all the SMEs make all benefits from the European single market.
The second concrete way is by facilitating access to finance. The EU supports business opportunities for SMEs both by facilitating access to loans and also by providing venture capital. We have supported 200,000 SMEs to benefit from the possibility of new opportunities – new business – thanks to this programme.
The third way, very concrete way, to support SMEs in Europe is through the Enterprise Europe Network. Our European network – with Chambers of Commerce, with many organisations of businessmen, of SMEs, of Regions – makes the possibilities for you to contact other partners, to receive information and to provide business and growth opportunities for 23 million SMEs in Europe.