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Commission approves SME programme for Wales

On a proposal from Mrs. Monika Wulf-Mathies, Commissioner for Regional Policy and Cohesion, the Commission has approved an investment programme worth ECU 5,217,000 for the adaptation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Wales to the Single Market.

This programme co...
On a proposal from Mrs. Monika Wulf-Mathies, Commissioner for Regional Policy and Cohesion, the Commission has approved an investment programme worth ECU 5,217,000 for the adaptation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Wales to the Single Market.

This programme covers Industrial South Wales and Rural Wales (Objective 2 and 5b areas). Other areas in Wales will be eligible for participation in networking activities. The programme will run until to 31 December 1999.

The overall objective of the programme for Wales is to help SMEs adapt to the Single Market and strengthen their competitiveness by developing their operating environment.

The SME programme has concentrated its financial means on a small number of measures:

- Support for productive investment: This will be focused on assistance to SMEs for the preparation and implementation of business plans, relating to the launch of new products;
- Support for cooperative networks and business clubs with a view to providing assistance for the promotion of regional, interregional and transnational cooperation between SMEs;
- Promotion of cooperation in RTD and technology transfer and innovation between SMEs and linked research centres, technology transfer centres, and higher and further education centres within Wales;
- Support to SMEs for the preparation of proposals to approach venture capital organizations and other providers of equity finance;
- Provision of training support.

The SME Programme has been agreed between the European Commission, the UK Government and other agencies. The programme will be administered through the Monitoring Committees established to oversee the management of structural fund operations in Industrial South Wales and Rural Wales.
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