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Commission helps SMEs find finance at IST 98

The need to find finance for Europe's high-technology SMEs - and the Commission's role in accelerating that process - were highlighted at the IST 98 conference on Tuesday.

DG XIII hosted the IST 98 Investment Forum at the conference in order to bring together SMEs with innova...
The need to find finance for Europe's high-technology SMEs - and the Commission's role in accelerating that process - were highlighted at the IST 98 conference on Tuesday.

DG XIII hosted the IST 98 Investment Forum at the conference in order to bring together SMEs with innovative information and communication technologies and potential investors. The Forum attracted over 100 of Europe's leading venture capitalists and business developers and heard from 50 SMEs looking to raise finance.

"More needs to be done in Europe to accelerate this process," said Dr Rosalie Zobel, head of the unit in DG XIII which set up the Forum. "It is clear that the European Commission, which supports the RTD efforts of SMEs through its programmes, cannot intervene directly in subsequent market approaches and business development processes. We therefore concentrate on building new bridges between dynamic entrepreneurs with an innovative technology advantage and the community of investors and business developers. It is this partnership which will transform technology SMEs into global market leaders."

European industry and EU research programmes have a track record of producing world-class technologies. But bringing such technologies successfully into the rapidly evolving ICT market is a major challenge for SMEs.

The unique opportunity for discussion at the Forum is intended to help both SMEs and potential investors learn about new trends and offerings in the ICT market.

The 50 SMEs selected by the organisers of the Forum were given advice and coaching in the run up to the meeting and then invited to present their business case to potential investors. The value of this opportunity was recognised by Staffan Hillberg, chief executive of Sweden's Firedoor AB, one of the SMEs taking part. "If we manage to raise funds and business support from selected international investors, our growth potential and competitive position will be significantly strengthened," he said.

The Forum is part of an ongoing series of events organised by the Commission in order to encourage the growth of the European ICT industry.

Source: IST 98 Press Office

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