Supporting Innovation Ecosystems and SMEs

The global economy is on a path to recovery, but uncertainty looms ahead. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs are critical for ensuring a strong, inclusive, and sustainable rebound. Despite their importance, SMEs have faced disproportionate challenges and require support to unlock their full potential. With SMEs representing 99% of firms and contributing 60% of the business sector's value added, their role in driving green and digital transitions cannot be underestimated. However, barriers like limited financial resources, innovation management gaps, and weak networking impede their competitiveness.

To foster innovation and growth, addressing these challenges is paramount. Research and innovation are essential for enhancing SMEs' competitiveness, boosting economic growth, and creating jobs, particularly in Europe. Governments have stepped in to provide significant short-term support, but long-term solutions are needed for sustained progress.

One of the key solutions is building effective networks. These networks can address challenges related to disruptions in global production and supply chains, promote the role of women-led businesses in international trade, enhance knowledge and innovation ecosystems, and strengthen skills development.

Innovation is the driving force behind long-term growth and productivity. Though SMEs may face more obstacles than larger enterprises, some can still become highly innovative and achieve remarkable productivity levels. To foster inclusive growth, authorities can support SMEs by creating a conducive business environment, assisting in funding, and helping them leverage their internal strategic resources effectively. Building an innovation system with inclusive support services and a focus on commercializing research will further bolster SME innovation.


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  • NanoAlb - Albanian NanoScience and Nanotechnology Unit

    NanoAlb, is the Albanian NanoScience and Nanotechnology Unit created next to the Academy of Sciences of Albania. It is a virtual center that coordinates the activities in the area of nanoscience and nanotechnology...

  • Innovation and Training Park Prizren

    The Innovation and Training Park (ITP) Prizren is the most unique location in the region, that fosters collaboration in a vibrant community, aiming to become the regional hub for entrepreneurship innovation...

  • Digital Serbia Initiative

    Digital Serbia Initiative is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation with the strategic goal of developing a strong, globally competitive digital economy in Serbia. The initiative aims...

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  • EBRD Youth in Business Programme

    The Youth in Business programme of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development helps SMEs owned or managed by youth in the economies of operations of the programme access know-how, business expertise...

  • FINNO - EEN contact point for companies in South-East Europe

    FINNO is the solution to make the right choice between various types of SME financial and innovation support by different EU programmes and institutions. It offers all relevant and available financing...

  • Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

    Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a cross-border exchange programme which gives new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in other Participating...

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  • WORTH Partnership Project II

    WORTH Partnership Project is funded by the European Commission under COSME, the EU Programme for the competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. WORTH is the sole European project where...

  • COVID-19 Investment Response – EU4BusinessRecovery

    The EU4Bussiness Recovery project aims to reduce the consequences caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on agricultural and tourism enterprises, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the ...

  • The Alliance of Boundary Crossing for Deep Tech

    The ABCD Project aims to be a leading platform for innovation and deep tech entrepreneurship in the Western Balkans. It will foster an entrepreneurial mindset and support deep tech start-ups to thrive...

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