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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

COSME- Europe’s programme for small and medium-sized enterprises

COSME leaflet

Download the leaflet with the key information on COSME, the programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), and its objectives.

Download the leaflet (available in all EU languages)

Accessing finance

COSME aims to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access finance in all phases of their lifecycle – creation, expansion, or business transfer. Thanks to EU support, businesses have easier access to guarantees, loans and equity capital. EU ‘financial instruments’ are channelled through local financial institutions in EU countries. To find a financial institution in your country, visit the Access to Finance portal.

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Opening markets

COSME helps businesses to access markets in the EU and beyond. It funds the Enterprise Europe Network that helps SMEs find business and technology partners, and understand EU legislation; the Your Europe Business portal that provides practical information on doing business within Europe. It also finances a number of IPR (intellectual property rights) SME Helpdesks.

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Supporting entrepreneurs

COSME supports entrepreneurs by strengthening entrepreneurship education, mentoring, guidance and other support services. Actions support specific groups who may find it difficult to reach their full potential, such as young people, women and senior entrepreneurs. The programme also aims to help businesses access opportunities offered by digital technologies.

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Improving business conditions

COSME aims to reduce the administrative and regulatory burden on SMEs by creating a business-friendly environment. COSME also supports businesses to be competitive by encouraging them to adopt new business models and innovative practices. This complements actions in areas with high growth potential such as the tourism sector.

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COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises running from 2014 - 2020 with a budget of €2.3 billion.

SMEs are the backbone of Europe’s economy, providing 85% of all new jobs. The European Commission aims to promote entrepreneurship and improve the business environment for SMEs to allow them to realise their full potential in today’s global economy.

Expressions of interest

The European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) manage many of the COSME legacy files on behalf of the European Commission.

Financial intermediaries that participated in the implementation of the COSME financial instruments (Loan Guarantee Facility and Equity Facility for Growth) via the European Investment Fund can participate in the new InvestEU Programme, namely via one of its components, the InvestEU Fund. Financial intermediaries can find more information on the available calls for expression of interest and participate in the implementation of InvestEU via the European Investment Fund or, upon other conditions met, directly become an implementing partner of the European Commission alongside the European Investment Bank Group (European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund).

Please note that the funding for the COSME programme came from the EU 2014-2020 budget and the programme will not receive additional EU funding. There are still some ongoing projects for objectives 2, 3 and 4 (access to markets, competitiveness and entrepreneurship). The funding for these multiannual projects came from EU 2019-2020 budget.

Some financial intermediaries (e.g. banks, equity funds, etc.) for the COSME financial instruments are still active until 2034 and SMEs can apply for COSME financing alongside other financing opportunities, including from the InvestEU Fund, via the access to finance website.