The Joint European Ventures (JEV) programme is part of the European Commission's Growth & Employment Initiative. Its aim is the provision of financial contributions for the establishment of transnational joint ventures by innovative SMEs within the EU. This will be distributed indirectly through banks and other financial institutions in Member States under the overall management of the Commission services. The scheme will allow a maximum contribution of Euro 100,000 per project. A first element of up to Euro 50,000 will be available to cover 50% of eligible expenses, including market research, preparation of business plans, environmental impact studies and legal documentation. The scheme will also provide overall cover for up to 10% of investment in fixed assets. An indicative figure of Euro 80-100 million is envisaged for this scheme over the period 1998-2000 (Euro 20 million in 1998).
The JEV programme operates similarly to existing initiatives under the European Commission's Phare - Tacis programmes, such as the Joint Venture Programme (JOP) or the European Community Investment Partner Programme (ECIP).
Innovative SMEs willing to benefit from the JEV programme will have to contact directly the financial intermediaries which are selected by the European Commission services or they can first seek guidance on innovation financing sources and how to prepare for them from the Gate2Growth Initiative.
List of financial institutions participating in the JEV Programme
Any partner of the Joint Venture has to comply with the following eligibility criteria:
- to have fewer than 250 employees;
- to have either an annual turnover not exceeding Euro 40 million or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding Euro 27 million;
- to conform to the criterion of independence.
The concept of a "joint venture" must be interpreted broadly, that is any form of consortium, partnership or joint venture of an industrial, service, commercial or craft nature.
The Joint Venture must relate to the creation of new economic activities, involving investment and employment creation within the Community and may take any form of partnership between at least two SMEs or entrepreneurs, in the field of industry, services, trade or craft, from two different Member States. If one of the partners owns more than 75 % of the shared capital of the joint venture the project will not be eligible.
The EU contribution is intended to cover some of the expenses relating to the setting up of a joint venture. The amount (max. Euro 100,000 per project) and terms of this contribution are as follows:
The first part of the contribution covers up to 50 % of the eligible expenses, in the form of a reimbursable advance, with a maximum ceiling of Euro 50,000.
Eligible expenses are those related to the conception and setting up of a transnational joint venture created by the European SMEs. These include the expenses of the market survey, preparation of the legal framework and the business plan, analysis of the environmental impact, and any other expenses which are essential for the setting up of the joint venture.
The second part of the contribution covers up to 10 % of the total amount of the investment made.
The EU contribution will be paid to the SME, via one of the financial intermediaries selected, on the following terms:
In the case of the 50% of the eligible expenses (up to a maximum of Euro 50,000):
A reimbursable advance of 50 % (maximum Euro 25,000) will be made on presentation of supporting documents for all the expenses incurred and based on a substantial final evaluation report which permits an assessment of the feasibility of the joint venture as well as the foreseen investment. After acceptance of these documents by the European Commission, the reimbursable advance will be converted into a grant.
In the case of the contribution towards investment:
An additional payment limited to 10 % of the investment will be made after the investment has been completed and proof that the new activity has started is submitted.
Any SME benefiting from the third payment (10 % of the investment) must submit to the European Commission, for a period of 5 years, information on the activities of the joint venture set up and, in particular, on the number of jobs created.