Action plan on entrepreneurship due out in autumn
By Ophélie Spanneut | Friday 15 June 2012
On 15 June, the European Commission announced an action plan to promote entrepreneurship and initiatives to improve SMEs’ access to finance. The Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antonio Tajani, announced the publication, in autumn, of an action plan to promote entrepreneurship. Tajani outlined the areas of action he wants to focus on to remove obstacles: facilitating transfers of business; efficient bankruptcy procedures and offering a second chance to entrepreneurs who have failed.
Tajani considers that there is a lot of untapped potential, saying that «45% of all Europeans would like to become their own boss if they could, but only an average of 10% are actually self-employed today». A Eurobarometer poll, carried out between September and October 2011, revealed that 24% of respondents would consider starting their own company if they lost their job. Commissioner Tajani, who is optimistic about this, added: «If we could raise this percentage, we could have millions of new innovative and creative enterprises, which would rejuvenate Europe’s economic basis, make it more robust, more job-generating and more resilient to stormy economic times». The EU’s action on the matter is viewed relatively positively by EU citizens. Indeed, according to this same survey, 59% of respondents consider that the EU has a positive impact to facilitate the process of creating one’s own enterprise.
As for financing, no new funds or financial instruments were announced, but instead there will be aid in the form of advice for small enterprises. Indeed, the Commission is publishing a practical guide providing information on how to access over €50 billion of public finance in the 27 member states. The document presents close to 120 national and regional financing programmes with key information on how to apply. Moreover, the 600 Enterprise Europe Network partners – who have been trained for this – will now be in better position to advise SMEs. Access to finance is the SMEs’ main concern. According to the sixth report of the European Central Bank (ECB), between October 2011 and May 2012, 25% of SMEs asked for a credit, but 13% did not get it. Lastly, Commissioner Tajani wants enterprises to develop further internationally, and will put in place offices tasked with answering questions about intellectual propert, in the Mercosur and ASEAN countries. SMEs in the EU will be able to receive a response free of charge to their questions linked, for instance, to patents in these emerging countries.
‘45% of Europeans would like to become their own boss but only 10% are actually self-employed’