Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme


Programme funding

EUR 450 million

Official Journal Reference

L 333 of 2000-12-29

Legislative Reference

2000/819/EC of 2000-12-20
To enhance the growth and competitiveness of business in a knowledge-based internationalized economy; to promote entrepreneurship; to simplify and improve the administrative and regulatory framework for business so that research, innovation and business creation in particular can flourish; to improve the financial environment for SMEs; to give business easier access to Community support services, programmes and networks and to improve the coordination of theses facilities.


The Commission has adopted in April 2000 a Communication (COM(2000)256 Final) and a proposal for a multiannual programme setting out how its Enterprise Policy will meet the challenges of globalization and the new knowledge-driven economy.
The Fourth multiannual programme for enterprise and entrepreneurship 2001-2005 was adopted by the Council 20 December 2000. It is based on a new co-ordination method, initiated by the Lisbon European Council, which implies a coordinating role for the European institutions, using benchmarking methodology and an effective monitoring of progress to ensure a more coherent strategic direction.
This strategy should be seen in the light of the Commission's overall commitment to sustainable development and in the specific context of four other related and forthcoming initiatives of the Commission:

_ The comprehensive eEurope Action Plan;
_ The benchmarking exercise on entrepreneurship and innovation;
_ The European Charter for Small Enterprises;
_ A review of EU financial instruments to redirect EU funding towards high tech start-ups and other risk capital initiatives.


Programme’s areas:

The areas of actions will principally be based on identifying and exchanging best practice, while taking account the needs of SMEs.

_ Enhancing growth and the competitiveness of business in a knowledge-based internationalized economy:
This programme will foster, in particular, measures to:
. Enhance competitiveness and innovation;
. Assist the free movement of goods and market access;
. Prepare enterprises for facing globalization and promote the participation of SMEs in the process of standardization and its implementation;
. Provide an adequate range of skills geared to the needs of small businesses;
. Develop the use of new information and communications technologies;
. Encourage innovative practices;
. Foster the integration of sustainable development.

_ Promote entrepreneurship:
. Assist the creation and transfer of businesses;
. Develop training in entrepreneurship;
. Foster the enterprise culture throughout society;
. Identify and promoting specific policies in favour of SMEs.

_ Simplify and improve the administrative and regulatory environment for business, in particular to promote research, innovation and business creation
. Further development of the business impact assessment system for proposed Community legislation;
. Better regulation and a simpler administrative environment in general.

_ Improving the financial environment for business, especially SMEs:
The programme will foster in particular:
. Measures to improve the financial environment for business, especially SMEs;
. Use of the Euro by business;
. Measures to encourage proximity financing, and in particular to develop networks of Business Angels;
. Promoting a Community-wide network for seed capital funds and their managers and stimulating an exchange of best practices and training;
. The organization of Round Tables of bankers and SMEs.

_ Giving business easier access to Community support services, programmes and networks and improving the coordination of these facilities:
The programme will, in particular, develop actions to:
. Foster access for enterprises to Community programmes and ensure better coordination particularly with the fifth framework programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities;
. Improve the operation, cooperation and coordination of Community networks;
. Promote the organization of Europartnership business cooperation events;
. Make use of the report entitled ‘European Observatory for SMEs’.


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the multiannual programme for SMEs and entrepreneurship. The Commission will be assisted by a committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission.
The Commission shall evaluate the implementation of the programme and submit to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions:

_ Every two years, an evaluation report on progress made by the enterprise policy in Community policies and programmes and on the implementation of the European Charter for Small Enterprises;
_ And an evaluation report by the end of December 2004.

The programme shall be open to the participation of:

_ The EFTA/EEA countries;
_ The associated central and eastern European countries (CEEC);
_ Cyprus, under the same conditions as those applied to the EFTA/EEA countries;
_ Malta and Turkey.
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