COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a planned budget of €2.3bn. COSME will support SMEs in the following areas:
Better access to finance for SMEs
COSME aims to facilitate and improve access to finance for SMEs through two different financial instruments:
- Loan Guarantee Facility (LGF) The COSME budget funds guarantees and counter-guarantees for financial intermediaries (e.g. guarantee organisations, banks, leasing companies) to help them provide more loan and lease finance to SMEs. This facility includes securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios. By sharing the risk, the COSME guarantees allow the financial intermediaries to expand the range of SMEs they can finance. This facilitates access to debt finance for many SMEs who might otherwise not be able to raise the funding they need.
- Equity Facility for Growth (EFG) The COSME budget is also invested in funds that provide venture capital and mezzanine finance to expansion and growth-stage SMEs in particular those operating across borders. The fund managers operate on a commercial basis, to ensure that investments are focused on SMEs with the greatest growth potential.
Better access to markets
- Information on EU legislation and participation in EU programmes (Horizon 2020, regional funds);
- Assistance to find a business partner abroad: in the EU or worldwide;
- Advice on EU access to finance;
- Support for innovation and technology transfer;
- Obtaining SME's opinion on EU legislation.
The Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan promotes entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture through:
- Entrepreneurship education COSME supports the exchange of best practice in entrepreneurship education among European educators and trainers.
- Improving the business environment experts will develop recommendations on the best support for businesses throughout their life cycles to ensure that entrepreneurs can grow and flourish.
- Role models and outreach to specific groups under COSME groups such as young people, women or senior entrepreneurs benefit from tailored mentoring programmes.
More favourable conditions for business creation and growth
Reduction of administrative and regulatory burden: COSME aims at lightening the administrative burden on businesses by removing unnecessary reporting and information requirements. SMEs are disproportionately affected by regulation. A special focus is thus needed to create more favourable conditions for them. This includes the identification and exchange of best practice.