Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Support mechanism for the creation of transnational joint ventures for SMEs in the Community

The European Commission, DG XXIII, has published a call for expressions of interest aimed at recruiting financial institutions to take part in a European Community network supporting the creation of transnational joint ventures for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Commission has decided to launch an initiative for supporting the setting-up of transnational joint ventures within the Community (JEV-Joint European Venture). Initial funding for this has been set aside as part of the multiannual programme for SMEs in the Community. A proposal for substantial additional funds has also been put to the Council in connection with the "Growth and Employment" initiative.

The initiative provides for a Community contribution to cover a portion of the expenditure incurred in connection with the creation of a joint venture. The maximum contribution per project is ECU 100,000. This is intended to cover 50% of eligible expenses up to a maximum of ECU 50,000. Eligible expenses are those related to the conception and setting-up of a transnational joint venture by Community SMEs. This includes expenditure for market surveys, for preparation of the legal framework and the business plan and for the environmental impact assessment, together with all other expenses which are essential for setting up the joint venture (10% of the total amount invested).

The initiative is to be managed in conjunction with a network of financial institutions. This network is to be set up with the role of promoting the initiative, identifying potential beneficiaries, assessing the projects proposed, administering the Community contributions granted to beneficiaries and monitoring the approved projects. The Commission will examine the eligibility of projects in the light of the objectives pursued, particularly the effect on employment. There is to be a system of identical payments for reimbursing all the financial institutions in the network.

When selecting financial institutions to participate in the network, the Commission will ensure that, as far as possible, the network covers the whole of the Community and is representative of the specific features of the financial sector in each Member State. SMEs who are promoters of projects will be free to approach the financial institution of their choice in the network. General contracts will be signed between the Commission and the selected financial institutions setting out specific arrangements for the work to be carried out.

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