Enterprise Europe Network: 1000 days helping SMEs to fully enjoy the single market

After 1000 days in business, the Enterprise Europe Network has helped more than 2.5 million companies to make the most of the Single Market. Europe’s largest business support network contributes to the competitiveness of SMEs by making it easier for them to internationalise, innovate and access EU finance and funding. Close to 600 major players in the business support community have linked up in the Network to offer a one-stop service to help companies reach their full potential.

Only three years after the launch of the Enterprise Europe Network, it has provided services to more than 2.5 million SMEs and held dedicated business events with more than 600,0000 participants. The Network has also attracted around 35,000 small businesses to international brokerage events and company missions. With over 3,000 professionals participating, it is present in every region of the European Union and in 21 Third Country markets such as China or South Korea to serve the needs of European SMEs.

The Enterprise Europe Network provides integrated support services designed to help small enterprises do business abroad, find European funding for their research and innovation projects and to get the most from business opportunities in public procurement in the European Union. It is estimated that so far the Network has helped around 4,500 SMEs acquire business cooperation, technology transfer or research partners abroad.

As a support for promoting entrepreneurship, the Network is also an important instrument in the implementation of Europe 2020 and the Small Business Act. In so doing the Network has been a  way for SMEs to take part in European policy making, channelling consultations to companies on upcoming European legislation and gathering their opinions on existing regulation. Using the Network's mechanisms, more than 10,000 expert opinions have already been collected which has contributed to the legislative process.

It is embedded in business support organisations such as Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Chambers of Craft, innovation development agencies, technology centres and research institutions, distinguished by their proximity to SMEs and their access to an EU-wide network of experts in European business affairs. It is therefore a key part of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, which aims to encourage competitiveness in European businesses, and is managed by the Executive Agency for Competitiveness & Innovation (EACI).

The Enterprise Europe Network represents, as highlighted by Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, a milestone in Europe's policy strategy for promoting entrepreneurship and the growth of enterprise.