Enterprise Europe Network, EEN, is a network promoted by the European Commission from the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, DG Growth, which aims to provide information services, advice and support for European business organizations and in particular for SMEs in relation to policies and business opportunities deployed in the European Union in the processes of technological transfer and access to European funding programmes for R&D&I.
The network, which nearly 600 organizations are participating in, has a team of 4,000 professionals in more than 50 countries.
The Enterprise Europe Network helps with the development of business or technological cooperation activities, advice on innovation and access to venture capital financing. It is a transmission chain of opportunities within the framework of the action programmes and funding lines of the European Union, EU, aimed at businesses under the "single window" principle. Its focus is directed preferentially towards small and medium enterprises, SMEs, both start-ups and existing companies, but it also supports larger companies, research institutes, technology centres and technological companies, as well as agencies specialising in the development of innovation.
Information for SMEs is a key factor for promoting competitiveness. The main work of the Enterprise Europe Network is to provide companies with the necessary information and advice on all matters affecting the development of their business activity:
The network members regularly organize missions and brokerage events for local SMEs in many parts of Europe and around the world. Based on the specific interests of their customers, they are responsible for the logistics: they organise meetings, provide venues and organise travel and accommodation in order to get the process of business and technological cooperation running smoothly.
Turning knowledge and technology into innovative products for the international market is the key to sustainable development for European SMEs: The network can assist in finding business partners and developing cross-border business and technology cooperation between companies and research institutes, but it cannot help companies sell their products and services.
Members of the network can advise on intellectual property rights in general. When more complex issues are addressed, they will refer companies to experts, such as the support centre on intellectual property rights (www.ipr-helpdesk.org) or to lawyers or patent experts. The same working method is used for all legal and contractual issues in technology transfers.
The EEN network plans activities specifically aimed at involving SMEs in European research programmes, R&D&I, through the development of information channels, which are supplemented by a set of support services by organizing local information events and seminars:
The network provides assistance and advice to enterprises seeking help in the form of funding and venture capital, in order to facilitate their participation in the various EU programmes, particularly those that target SMEs, but it does not provide finance directly. It can also help them to capitalise on the results of European RTD projects.
The dissemination of information as a strategic key factor for the competitiveness of SMEs is the main service provided by the EEN in its work and is divided into three levels:
It disseminates information about Europe and gives advice to companies on the functioning and opportunities of the internal market for goods and services, including the possibilities of participating in tenders, public procurement and business opportunities.
It proactively promotes initiatives, policies and programmes of interest to SMEs and advises them on the procedures for participation in these programmes via alerting services.
It studies the problems caused by the impact of the current European legislation on SMEs by using measurement tools when carrying out their business activities.
It encourages and facilitates the participation of Basque businesses in the European policy-making process, thus giving SMEs the option to present their views and proposals.
It helps European SMEs with the development of cross-border commercial and financial activities, international networking and making new deployments in other European countries.
It supports SMEs in finding partners, both the public sector and the private, using specialized tools.
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