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Commission approves ECU 11 million for the support of SMEs in Finland

The Commission has approved a regional programme for developing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Finland. Community aid worth ECU 11 million will be provided to this four-year programme from the EU's Structural Funds as part of the Community Initiative for the adap...
The Commission has approved a regional programme for developing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Finland. Community aid worth ECU 11 million will be provided to this four-year programme from the EU's Structural Funds as part of the Community Initiative for the adaptation of SMEs to the single market. Finnish public authorities will contribute a further ECU 7.6 million, and the private sector ECU 9.2 million, thus bringing the total investment to about ECU 28 million.

Community aid will centre primarily on job creation. To reduce unemployment from the present unacceptably high level of around 17%, Finland needs to create many new jobs. These will mainly have to come from SMEs in new or expanding high-technology industries and services including tourism. Little employment growth is expected from the large companies in traditional industries which have hitherto dominated the Finnish economy.

The SME programme therefore focuses on three main areas:

- Business incubators and the provision of services to SMEs by research and vocational training establishments (also building up the links between SMEs and the vocational training system);
- Training and consultancy services to improve the knowledge and application of EU Single Market regulations in SMEs;
- Special development support for SMEs that have strong growth potential, including groups or "clusters" of such firms.

Around half of the budget will be spent in sparsely populated areas (Obj. 6), where SME development is most difficult.
DE FR

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