Micros, SMEs and international activities

I have not been keeping an eye on the SME section on the EU commission’s homepage for a while, and was surprised to find that this section now is listed  under Enterprises and Industry.

There is a lot of activity regarding the promotion of us Micros – the following is cut from the site:

Promoting international activities of SMEs
Ambitious SMEs will not limit their activities to their own country, but setting out to establish a product or a firm in a foreign market can be daunting, even with the progress made in creating the Single Europen Market. The Commission is working identify the best policies to make it easier for SMEs to work beyond their national borders, both within and beyond the EU.”

Something that me be of real interest to us Mikronetters is the new initiative  of  producing a catalogue of good practices in 2008 – we may get some good ideas – and maybe contribute some of our own. As previously mentoned on this blog, I am actively involved in various European Projects as part of a consortium of  independent information finders/consultants and was therefore pleased to come across the following:

“International activities reinforce the growth of enterprises, as they help them become more competitive. For many SMEs, national frontiers still represent a significant barrier to expanding their business, although the European Single Market has made it easier than ever for small firms to do business in other Member States. At the same time, the EU is also helping to open up opportunities for SMEs beyond the Single Market.

For most SMEs, the domestic market is their only market; only one-fifth of European SMEs export their products or services outside their home country. And even fewer have entered deeper into foreign markets; just 3% of SMEs have set up subsidiary firms, branch offices or entered into joint ventures in countries other than their own.

While large firms have the resources to operate in many markets, for smaller companies going abroad is a big step. There are many reasons for SMEs’ lack of penetration in foreign markets, including linguistic and cultural barriers, and differences in regulatory and legal environments. Furthermore, many SMEs are unaware of specific opportunities that would suit their business. They simply do not have the resources and the contacts which could alert them to potential partners and openings in foreign markets. And of course, the financial investment needed to launch into a new market can be a significant barrier to many SMEs.

Most Member States have put a range of programmes and support structures in place to help smaller firms tackle export markets. To help them all learn from each others’ successes, the Commission has set up a group of experts from all Member States to identify and share details of proven initiatives in this field. The group is due to produce a catalogue of good practices in early 2008. “

I was disappointed at not finding Denmark represented on the list of “experts” – I am certain that we could have contributed. It is a matter of keeping an eye open for the various tenders!

An overview of the main funding opportunities available to European SMEs can be found at