Programme for the Competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs 2014-2020 - COSME

The new Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) will run from 2014 to 2020, with a planned budget of €2.5bn (current prices).

The main objectives are

  • facilitating access to finance for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)
  • creating an environment favourable to business creation and growth
  • encouraging an entrepreneurial culture in Europe
  • increasing the sustainable competitiveness of EU companies
  • helping small businesses operate outside their home countries and improving their access to markets

The Commission's proposal will be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council, which must agree to adopt it. COSME should start on January 1, 2014.

Association to COSME by the Western Balkan Countries: is to be discussed, the programme is open to the participation of acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates.

COSME logo © European Union

Supported activities

Specific objective No 1: Actions to improve the framework conditions for the competitiveness and sustainability of Union enterprises (384.4 million EUR)

1. Actions to improve and strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability of Union enterprises, particularly SMEs.

2. Actions intended to develop new competitiveness strategies. Such actions may include the following:
a) measures to improve the design, implementation and evaluation of policies affecting the competitiveness and sustainability of enterprises, including disaster resilience, and to secure the development of appropriate infrastructures, world class clusters and business networks, framework conditions and development of sustainable products, services and processes;

b) measures to encourage cooperation in policy making and exchange of good practices and to address international aspects of competitiveness policies.
c) support for SME policy development and cooperation between policy makers, particularly with a view to improving the ease-of-access to programmes and measures for SMEs.

3. Initiatives accelerating the emergence of competitive industries based on cross-sectoral activities in areas characterised by a high proportion of SMEs and with a high contribution to the Union's GDP.


Specific objective No 2: Actions to promote entrepreneurship (86.8 million EUR)

Supported actions include studies, campaigns, events and exchange programmes.

1.Improving framework conditions affecting the development of entrepreneurship; support a business environment favourable to enterprise development and growth.

2.Particular attention shall be paid to young entrepreneurs, new and potential entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs, as well as specific target groups.

3.The Commission may support Member States' measures to build-up entrepreneurial education, skills and attitudes, in particular among potential and new entrepreneurs.

Specific objective No 3: Actions to improve access to finance for SMEs (1.436 billion EUR)

1. Actions which aim to improve access to finance for SMEs in their start-up and growth phases, being complementary to the Member States' use of financial instruments for SMEs at national and regional level.
a) The equity facility of the Competitiveness and SME Programme, the Equity Facility for Growth (EFG), shall be implemented as a window of a single EU equity financial instrument supporting EU enterprises’ growth and RDI from the early stage (including seed) to the growth stage and financially supported by the Horizon 2020 and this Programme. EFG shall use the same delivery mechanism as the equity facility for RDI to be established under Horizon 2020.
b) The Loan Guarantee Facility (LGF) shall be implemented as part of a single EU debt financial instrument for EU enterprises' growth and RDI, using the same delivery mechanism as the SME demand-driven window of the debt facility under Horizon 2020 (RSI II).

2. Develop measures, subject to market demand, to improve cross-border and multi-country financing, thereby assisting SMEs to internationalise their activities in compliance with Union law.

Specific objective No 4: Actions to improve access to markets (2.443 billion EUR)

1. Support for the Enterprise Europe Network.

2. Actions to improve SMEs access to the Single Market including information provision and awareness-raising.

3. Facilitate SMEs access to markets outside the Union, and to strengthening existing support services in those markets. SMEs may receive support through the Programme as regards standards and intellectual property rights in priority third countries.

4. Foster international industrial cooperation, including industrial and regulatory dialogues with third countries.