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European Partnership on Innovative SMEs

Project description

Helping SMEs reach international markets

SMEs are an important factor for continued innovation and growth in many sectors across the EU. This is why they receive funding and support. However, the very nature of SMEs often limits their expansion across borders to international markets. The EU-funded InnovativeSMEs project, coordinated by the Eureka initiative in Brussels and having already run the Eurostars 1 and 2 programmes, aims to reverse this trend. It will combine Eurostars 3 and Innowwide programmes with previous EU programmes to boost cooperation between SMEs. The project’s overall aim is to facilitate the transition to the international market.


WHO: The proposal involves 40 National Funding Authorities and/or Agencies under the Umbrella of Eureka and is coordinated by the Eureka Secretariat in Brussels. Founded in 1985, Eureka is a global network, with 48 Member States plus the European Commission. It includes nearly all countries of the European continent as well as international members like Israel, Turkey, Korea, Canada, Singapore, South Africa, Argentina and Chile. The Consortium also benefits from the fact that is has successfully run the Eurostars 1 and 2 programs.

WHAT: The proposed European Partnership on Innovative SMEs will comprise two main instruments (Eurostars 3 and Innowwide) as well as measures to connect to existing EU programs, initiatives and other European partnerships. EUROSTARS 3 (E*3) is an instrument that supports the international cooperation of SMEs in the field of non-military collaborative innovation projects. An E*3 project consortium must be composed of at least 2 independent entities from at least two participating countries and must be led by an innovative SME. The E*3 instrument benefits from accompanying measures that strengthen SMEs’ ability to access foreign markets like the INNOWWIDE instrument, which has already been piloted with the support of some Eureka network members in recent years.

WHY: The biggest challenges for innovative SMEs are the access to international cooperation and to enter international markets as well the ability to receive funding. E*3 through its coordination of national innovation programs will in addition support the further development of a European Research Area.

HOW: The Eureka Secretariat will organize two joint transnational calls per year for E*3 and one call per year for Innowwide. National Innovation Agencies actively support the implementation of E*3 via national funding and support measures as well as services to applicants and promotion of the program.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 763 867,25
1040 Bruxelles / Brussel

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Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/ Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Arr. de Bruxelles-Capitale/Arr. Brussel-Hoofdstad
Activity type
Total cost
€ 5 879 557,50

Participants (37)

Partners (5)