EU approves €10 million to support SMEs in Eastern Partnership countries

The European Commission has adopted a €10 million programme to support Small and Medium Sized enterprises (SMEs) and trade opportunities in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. A press release quoted EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle as saying:

“Our Eastern neighbours have been hit hard by the economic crisis. Small and medium sized enterprises can play a key role in generating jobs and economic growth because they respond quickly to opportunities created by the market. It is therefore our crucial task to support small businesses in the Eastern Partnership region.”

The new programme, which is one of the flagship initiatives of the Eastern Partnership, covers:

·support to partner countries’ institutions to put in place and implement policy and legislative reforms in support of SMEs;

·extension of the East-Invest project, which supports Business Support organisations in the EaP countries and promotes trade opportunities between European and EaP companies;

·strengthening auditing and reporting capacity of SMEs’ to improve their access to financing in the EaP countries.

The project is expected to start in the second half of this year, the press release said.

East Invest project

Since its launch in 2010, the East Invest project has helped train more than 100 representatives of Business Associations and 200 representatives of SMEs; 150 SMEs from the region are participating in European Trade fairs, investment conferences are being organised in each of the 6 EaP counties to attract European investors and trade partners to the region.

Source: ENPI Info Centre