Press Release - Helping SMEs go for growth
16.11.2012, 12:07 (CET)
The ways to help Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) ‘Go for Growth’ were discussed during the 1st SME Assembly, held at the “Filoxenia” Conference Centre in Lefkosia (Nicosia). The two-day conference, which ended today, was co-organized by the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Commission, and brought together representatives of European SMEs, business organizations, national and regional government, academia and the media.

Discussions at the Assembly concluded that, in line with the priorities of the Small Business Act, the main issues that SMEs in Europe face today are access to finance, access to other markets, especially outside the EU, and reduction of administrative burdens. As pointed out by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Cyprus, Mr Neoklis Sylikiotis, in his welcome address yesterday, “we are satisfied by the Commission’s initiatives regarding new policies, measures and tools, in favour of SMEs and thus aimed at strengthening the EU and enhancing its competitiveness. However, since the implementation of reform measures and policies, takes time, we must begin today if we wish to have results the soonest”.

Urgent need for sufficient SMEs financing

Europe’s current economic challenges mean that sufficient financing to support SMEs has never been more urgent. As such, consensus during the Assembly was that Member States need to adopt a multi-annual financial framework that will benefit SMEs and that COSME, the Programme for the Competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs, is sufficiently financed to continue to support Europe’s SMEs. “Improving access to finance and encouraging entrepreneurship, including the creation of new enterprises, are the main objectives of the new financial support programme”, stressed Minister Sylikiotis in his speech today at the conference.

SMEs at the centre of policy-making

The Assembly’s participants recognized the need for consultation between the competent authorities and SMEs in the decision making process, as well as policy making for SMEs. As noted by Minister Sylikiotis, “we, the Member States and stakeholders, must place our political priorities regarding the policies for SMEs high on the agenda and promote measures and initiatives that will help them grow and innovate, in order to exploit the opportunities offered by the internal market, to internationalize their operations and to create new jobs.

We must reduce the administrative burden on SMEs, promote entrepreneurship and innovation and reposition our priorities, taking into account corporate social responsibility, social enterprise and the principles of standardization”.

European Enterprise Promotion Awards

The Assembly culminated in last night’s annual European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony, celebrating organisations that have helped to promote entrepreneurship at national, regional or local level.

The list of winning enterprises is attached.

Communications Officer
George Arotis

Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Tourism

Telephone: +357 22867161

Find more related photos here

Find photos from the award ceremony here