Josip Jezic von Gesseneck    2016-11-09

EU opening funds for innovative enterprise

Enabling innovative enterprises in Europe

Brussels, Innovation

EU Commissioner Moedas unveils new mechanism to retain top innovators in Europe.

In the last weeks, the EU has demonstrated its continued commitment to innovation, also as an EU integration and inclusion mechanism, by introducing several new multi-million Euro loan and support mechanisms for micro-enterprises in Southeast Europe. Beyond starting-enterprises however, EU commissioner Moedas has announced today the creation of a €1.6bn venture capital fund for the most innovative scale-ups in Europe.

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Slovenian Enterprise Fund have signed an agreement under which some 1,000 Slovenian micro enterprises will be able to get EUR 21m in loans under favourable terms, the first fund to support micro-enterprise in Slovenia under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation. Particularly targets will be entrepreneurs in rural areas, especially deprived rural areas with underemployment, young people and women, and sectors including creative industries and those maximizing use of Slovenian natural resources. Original article.

However, non-financial support for start-ups such as mentoring on how to navigate the business landscape is as critical to the growth and even survival of the start-up as the funding. The Sarajevo Economic Region Development Agency (SERDA) completed a few weeks ago the process of evaluation of applications received and selected 30 startup companies that will receive a free mentoring program in 2016-2017, with the support of the European Fund for Southeast Europe Development Facility (EFSE DF). Original article.

Efforts such as those above in Slovenia and Bosnia are very important components of a well-functioning state support mechanism for innovation. The European Commission has now announced the introduction of additional measures several steps further on in the innovation cycle: the creation of a European venture capital fund for the support of scale-up of the most innovative European enterprises. EU Commissioner for innovation Carlos Moedas has described at Web Summit that the function of this €1.6bn fund will be allow the state to gain up to a 25% minority stake in the most innovative enterprises, but thus encouraging additional private investors to join and retain the most valuable high-growth enterprises in Europe. Original article.

CHAMBER.BE supports initiatives and regulations from the EU to the regional level which promote innovation through start-ups but also larger, growing enterprises which comprise a significant portion of employment and economic value in Europe. Beyond state mechanisms, we are engaged in developing business-to-business platforms across Southeast Europe and connecting the region to Brussels for an exchange of ideas, experiences, and a sharing of capacities, taking advantage of a solidifying single market and science, technology and innovation union. ■