Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Support for trans-national cooperation between handicraft businesses and small companies

Within the framework of the Council Decision of 14 June 1993 (OJ No L 161 of 2.7.1993) concerning the multiannual action programme for small and medium-sized enterprises including handicraft businesses, the European Commission, DG XXIII is carrying out a test programme intended to promote pilot cooperation projects to help handicraft businesses and small companies to form durable partnerships with similar companies and businesses in other States of the European Union.

It has become clear that trans-national cooperation between handicraft businesses and small companies in the European Union is an effective way for these companies to improve their knowledge of markets in other States and to improve their economic competence by learning different business practices. It is, however, very difficult for these companies, on their own, to find satisfactory partners and to establish lasting relationships with them. Most of the time it is necessary for these companies to consult specialized companies for advice and support.

The object of the test programme is therefore to help these companies exploit the advantages of a single European market with the help of partnerships supported by experienced, accompanying organizations. The present notice therefore addresses organizations which have sound experience in the field of providing consultancy and guidance to handicraft businesses and small companies and which can prove their competence in the organization of trans-national cooperation and support for companies. Trans-national cooperation may apply to products or services and the distribution and research into new markets. Financial support is intended for consultancy and support organizations, for the execution of pilot projects to develop trans-national cooperation between companies.

Each pilot project must involve companies and organizations in at least two Member States. The European Commission may cover up to 50% of the costs of each accepted pilot project, up to a maximum of ECU 20,000. The support of the European Commission will depend on the success of the project. As an indication, the first half of the support will be transferred, as an advance, after signature of the appropriate declaration by the beneficiary. This advance is to be repaid to the European Commission if, one year after signature by the beneficiary, any of the following three phases have not been met:
- Informing companies and preparing meetings between companies from various States: selection of participants, coordination of work and meetings between experts from consultancy organizations in the affected States;
- Organizing meetings between chosen companies together with supporting companies;
- Initiation of cooperation projects and support for companies: follow-up to meetings, selection of appropriate partners, assistance in translations, preparation of contracts, etc.

A report summarizing and analysing the results obtained will be requested. The second half will be transferred after receipt and acceptance of the final report.

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