Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Support for distributive trades SMEs

The Commission of the European Communities has published a call for expressions of interest and a call for proposals for a number of pilot actions aimed at encouraging the creation or the reinforcement of horizontal or vertical collaboration between the distributive trades, involving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and possible economic partners (suppliers, related industries, etc.). The means for achieving this collaboration includes the application of new technology and new management tools to the sector.

The call (which follows a first call for proposals launched on 10.8.1991 in OJ No C 455) includes two parts. As well as the call for proposals, a call for expressions of interest has been added, allowing selected project proposers to receive support for initial feasibility studies. This support aims at helping SMEs which lack the necessary expertise and means to formulate their proposals properly. In this context, the patronage of professional federations is encouraged in order to enlarge the possible impact of the projects.

The main technology applications and related-training activities permitting new forms of cooperation which influences the competitiveness and the efficiency of an already existing cooperation network are:

- Management and optimization of the flow of goods to include just-in-time and quick response techniques;
- Computerized handling of cash-flow procedures to include point-of-sale technologies;
- Electronic transfer and handling of information to include electronic data interchange and electronic document exchange;
- New emerging multimedia applications to include teleshopping and telesales;
- Training of SME managers for the purpose of developing modern forms of collaboration between commercial SMEs and their economic partners;
- Accompanying actions such as training of human resources and promotional activities.

The above actions are not exclusive of other new technology developments. Special attention will be given to proposals backed up by professional associations or federations in the sector concerned, at local, national or European level, in order to maximize the quantitative impact of the programme. In addition, cofinancing from other public sources which can increase the size and credibility of the project will also be taken into account.

Among other selection criteria, the Commission will only consider projects which aim to improve the commercial methods and practices operated between independent firms, and not those merely designed to modernize the internal communications systems of a single firm.
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top