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Executive Agency for SMEs - Competitiveness, innovation, sustainability in Europe


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The EU’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) brings EU funding to innovative
projects that create jobs and growth, protect the environment
and work towards sustainable development.

Our job is to make sure that EU funding reaches the
right people, is properly spent, has a concrete impact on
the ground and makes a meaningful difference to the
lives of EU citizens.

EASME implements the European Commission's policies
and programmes on behalf of its departments.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Executive Agency for SMEs - Competitiveness, innovation, sustainability in Europe

  2. 2. Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: competitiveness, innovation, sustainability in Europe European Commission Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Contact: Hussein Sattaf Email: European Commission B-1049 Brussels Manuscript completed in January 2019 The views expressed in this document refare the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission. More information on the European Union is available on the internet ( Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2019ISBN: 978-92-9202-394-2 doi: 10.2826/76114 © European Union, 2019 Reuse is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. The reuse policy of European Commission documents is regulated by Decision 2011/833/EU (OJ L 330, 14.12.2011, p. 39). For any use or reproduction of photos or other material that is not under the EU copyright, permission must be sought directly from the copyright holders. Images purchased from
  3. 3. EUROPEAN COMMISSION Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises2019 Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Competitiveness, innovation, sustainability in Europe January 2019
  4. 4. ELŻBIETA BIEŃKOWSKA FOREWORD EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR INTERNAL MARKET, INDUSTRY, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SMES Our continent is now enjoying the longest period of prosperity and sta- bility in its history. This is a reality and a real achievement that was also possible thanks to all the devoted people who believe in the European project! Although there is still a lot of room for improvement, this also means that the European Commission is succeeding in bringing Europe closer to its people and making them understand how we work for them. The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) plays a very important role in achieving just that. The Agency works with the people and for the people across all Member States and be- yond, giving financial support to projects on the ground and to local communities every single day. These projects would have never come to life without EU support and the enthusiasm and commitment of EASME colleagues. This is a great example of how the EU works well – together!
  5. 5. JULIEN GUERRIER FOREWORD DIRECTOR OF THE EXECUTIVE AGENCY FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES Our mission is to serve European Union citizens and make Europe more competitive, innovative and sustainable. How do we do this? We manage projects under EU programmes, including COSME for the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, the Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation, LIFE for climate and environment and the European Mari- time and Fisheries Fund. These initiatives help bring business concepts and product prototypes to life, stimulating the European economy and protecting our natural heritage. Our highly motivated and service-ori- ented colleagues support each project from application stage to fund- ing and implementation. I invite you to discover what we do and our key achievements.
  6. 6. / WHAT WE DO Executive Agencies of the European Commission manage EU funding on its behalf. This allows the European Commission to focus on developing policies and funding programmes, while giving the agencies the role of putting them into action. This way, funding is managed more efficiently, with lower costs and close to beneficiaries. Through EASME, the European Union offers funding and support to small businesses, researchers, NGOs and public bodies to boost growth, create jobs and secure a sustainable future for all. The EU’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) brings EU funding to innovative projects that create jobs and growth, protect the envi- ronment and work towards sustainable development. Our job is to make sure that EU funding reaches the right people, is properly spent, has a concrete impact on the ground and makes a meaningful difference to the lives of EU citizens. EASME implements the European Commission's policies and programmes on behalf of its departments. 6 / What We do
  7. 7. over 20000projects managed parts of 4 programmes From 2014 to 2020 over 500committed people € 11 bn Horizon 2020 LIFE COSME EMFF 7 / What We do
  9. 9. COMPETITIVENESS AND INNOVATION Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe's economy. SMEs represent 99% of all businesses in the EU and in the past five years, they have created around 85% of new jobs in the EU. Innova- tive companies in particular help Europe stay at the peak of its competitiveness. Through EU programmes like COSME and Horizon 2020, we help small and innovative companies access the market faster and internationalise their business. 9 / What We do
  10. 10. COMPETITIVENESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP COSME, the EU programme for the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, helps SMEs access finance and new markets. It makes it easier to set up and grow a business in Europe and beyond with specific actions like support to clusters, training on digital skills, easier access to loans or venture capital and mentoring programmes for new businesses like Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. ecoBirdy upcycles old and unused plastic toys into 100% clean and safe children’s design furniture. ecobirdy received €0.95 million from COSME to set up a system to collect used toys in schools and to manufacture them into furniture. While collecting the toys, ecoBirdy explains their project to children and teaches them about the circular economy with a storybook and an educational programme. 10 / What We do
  11. 11. In addition to funding, we help innovative companies on their growth path to growth by offering advice and ex- panding their network. The Enterprise Europe Network connects entrepreneurs across Europe and beyond, helps them find business partners and investors and matches them with business coaches. It also helps them, apply for funding, access market information and overcome legal obstacles. Your Europe Business Portal provides entrepreneurs with useful information and interactive services that help them expand their business abroad. It also offers them support for their intellectual property rights through spe- cialised IPR Helpdesks. The German company Novihum turns brown coal into a type of humus that improves soil fertility and brings over-farmed fields back to good health. The Enterprise Europe Network helped Novihum find a business partner in the Netherlands and raise a grant of over €2 million from Horizon 2020. The company has used the grant to build a pilot plant in Germany and expand their team from 7 to 25 people 11 / What We do
  12. 12. INNOVATION AND ACCESS TO MARKETS Nova Innovation works on an innovative technology that harnesses the power of tides to generate energy. It designs, builds and operates offshore tidal turbine arrays that are connected to the power grid. EASME granted €2.25 million in EU funding to Nova Innovation to develop their tidal array to a full scale and bring it closer to the market. Innovation in small businesses is a key factor in stepping up the competitiveness of European industry. Through the programmes that we manage, we support small in- novative businesses and stimulate innovation ecosys- tems. The European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot supports mar- ket-creating innovation in SMEs with significant growth potential and global ambitions. The EIC pilot helps SMEs get their groundbreaking innovations onto the market faster. Besides funding, innovators get coaching, net- working opportunities with investors and business part- ners and a vibrant business community. Horizon 2020 INNOSUP directly supports innovation ac- tors, like businesses, innovation agencies and clusters, that build SMEs' innovation capacity. 12 / What We do
  13. 13. SUSTAINABILITY AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY Through the programmes we manage, we support pro- jects and initiatives that protect the planet and ensure the resources of today are preserved and used in a sus- tainable way, so that the generations of tomorrow can enjoy a healthy and prosperous life. 13 / What We do
  14. 14. ENVIRONMENT, NATURE AND CLIMATE Sustainable growth makes Europe’s economy less en- ergy-dependent and more competitive, while delivering high levels of employment and a healthy environment in the longer term. The LIFE programme supports NGOs, small companies, public bodies and private entities that make a substan- tial contribution to our environment, nature protection and climate action. LIFE also help projects that preserve wildlife, ecosystems and natural habitats. EASME granted the Małopolska project nearly €10 million to draw up a plan to improve air quality in the Polish region of Małopolska. The plan will clean air pollution in the region, coming mainly from combustion of solid fuels in obsolete household boilers and ultimately impact the lives of around 20 million citizens. The project will improve regional cooperation in air pollution hotspots, encourage the replacement of obsolete coal boilers, build local capacity and raise awareness about air pollution. 14 / What We do
  15. 15. Parts of the Horizon 2020 framework programme for re- search and innovation are dedicated to environment and resources. The programme funds research and innovation projects in the field of circular economy, climate action, cultural heritage, Earth observation, natural resources and raw materials, with a view to building a low-carbon, climate resilient future. Maslowaten is a photovoltaics-based pumping system for irrigation that reduces electricity costs up to 75% for farmers and landowners. Maslowaten received € 3.99 million from Horizon 2020 to build demonstration sites in five countries in the Mediterranean region, in order to test the system. The tests have been successful and Maslowaten has transferred their technology to dozens of SMEs that will now commercialise it. 15 / What We do
  16. 16. ENERGY EFFICIENCY Parts of the Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation are dedicated to secure, clean and efficient energy. The programme funds research and innovation projects that support policy implementation and capacity building, and help mobilise large-scale in- vestments that back sustainable energy solutions. The objective is to find more energy-efficient alternatives to existing technologies and practices and to help new en- ergy efficient solutions reach the market. Transition Zero helps social houses that need refurbishing to become zero-energy level houses. The project has received € 3.6 million from Horizon 2020 to develop ready-made plans and packages for social housing providers that lay the groundwork for them. The packages include a manual, templates for procurement and business plans, in addition to concrete support in implementation. 16 / What We do
  17. 17. MARITIME ENVIRONMENT The parts of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund managed in EASME specifically tackle Europe’s coasts and seas and help projects make fisheries and aquacul- ture more sustainable and profitable, and to diversify lo- cal economies that rely on a sustainable marine environ- ment. They also trigger collaboration between public and private actors and finance studies that give a scientific basis for decision-making. SpilLess provides a cheap first-line solution to fight maritime pollution caused by oil spills. It cleans the sea by using native organisms that help naturally degrade the oil spills without the use of chemicals. Drones and autonomous vehicles transfer the microorganisms to the spot of the incident. SpilLess received € 0.3 million to bring the technology closer to the market. SpilLess is used in the Atlantic Ocean and can be potentially transferred to other areas. 17 / What We do
  18. 18. People are the heart of any organisation. At EASME, we strive to create a modern workplace with lean and ef- ficient processes and engaged colleagues. We believe that every project is important and we give priority to ensuring excellent customer service through our team of experts. // A MODERN WORKPLACE 18 // A Modern workplace
  19. 19. OUR CULTURE Having a team of skilled experts with diverse backgrounds, abilities and expertise is what makes our organisation stand out. We value diversity and use it to our advantage every day. Our core values underpin how we work and interact with others. We are highly committed to working in the interest of European citizens and are guided by objectivity, integrity, transparency and respect for others. 19 // A Modern workplace
  20. 20. Working together is all about dialogue. Our Sounding Board gathers bottom-up ideas and opinions about what kind of workplace EASME should strive to be. Through different working groups our staff develops new ideas and makes proposals to shape our organisation and improve our working methods together. OUR WORKING METHODS Our people are our biggest asset. We strive to create an attractive workplace built on modern and partici- pative working methods where colleagues are given autonomy, responsibility, trust and support. We encourage collaborative ways of working with lean management structures and an inclusive work- ing culture offering staff the chance to participate in decision-making. We make sure this happens in practice by co-creating a vision and corporate identi- ty together, establishing team objectives and defin- ing clear benchmarks for quality of service, perfor- mance, impact and ownership. Our management has committed to a Charter based on the principles of trust, transparency and support, and ensures constant communication. 20 // A Modern workplace
  21. 21. 21 // A Modern workplace
  22. 22. I work in a strategic coordination team, collecting contributions from colleagues for our annual work programme and activity reports. What I like the most about working in EASME is collaborating with so many different, dedicated people. EASME is also a very dynamic workplace. Every day brings new challenges. The staff is regularly consulted and encouraged to shape our working environment together. Many of our colleagues are highly qualified specialists from different cultural backgrounds, which allows us to learn from each other all the time. I have a PhD in environmental engineering and I work in my field, on circular economy projects. It’s very rewarding to see the tangible results of research and innovation policy on the ground, and observe how projects can have an impact on everyday life. MARIKA VAARIK VINCENZO GENTE Project Adviser Senior Project Adviser 22 // A Modern workplace
  23. 23. EASMEsupportstheimplementationofEUpoliciesandprogrammesrelatedtotheworkoftheEuropeanCommission’s Directorates-General for: Climate Action Communications Networks, Content and Technology Energy Environment Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Research and Innovation Find out more on Follow us on @EU_EASME Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME)
  24. 24. EA-04-18-860-EN-C