SMEs boosted by significant EU funding

SMEs in the UK and Europe are set to receive a significant slice of a £60billion product development fund that is due to launch in early 2014.


The fund, Horizon 2020, will see innovative SME manufacturers presented with an opportunity to take part of a £2.5billion portion.


It is available to companies developing new products, but SMEs have been guaranteed at least that figure as part of the support services available from the European Union.


As part of the long-standing Framework Programme, the current scheme which ends in December has seen 1,659 UK-based SMEs successfully apply for £1.2billion of funding.


The UK was only second to Spain in terms of grant success, which has helped many companies in the sector look into new openings.


It also lessens the need for a potential pre-pack administration agreement or corporate restructuring, as the companies are in a much more healthy financial position as a result.


Moving towards ‘effective’ economic recovery


“This fund presents an enormous opportunity for SME manufacturers across the UK,” said Paul Tranter, chief executive of Pera Technology, which supports the scheme.


“If we are going to have an effective economic recovery in this country and across Europe, the SME manufacturing sector is key.


“It is particularly important for an economy like the UK’s where SMEs have been pinpointed as an engine for growth.”


The fund looks to cover a number of sectors including science, technology and social-based aspects, and ideas can be submitted at either the ideas or feasibility testing stages.


Research programmes need to demonstrate clear commercial potential to gain funding to ensure that grants are not wasted.


“The chance to secure up to 100 per cent funding for research and development cannot be missed,” added Mr. Tranter.


Financial assistance for SMEs to drive the economy forward has the potential to lead to growth in many sectors if managed in the correct fashion. 


By Phil Smith


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