Services at the Galway offices of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN ) are to be increased and strongly refocused on supporting the SME sector, according to North West MEP Jim Higgins.
"The European Commission is rolling out a series of new initiatives to boost entrepreneurship and support small to medium businesses in exploiting international and markets and business opportunities," Mr Higgins said.
"The Commission is ramping up the deployment of its Enterprise Europe Network (EEN ) – which includes offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Waterford and Sligo. EEN service providers are to undergo intensive retraining to better assist SMEs through enhanced information on EU and national financing sources. The EEN will encourage in becoming more competitive and seeking out new markets.
"A new Entrepreneurship Action Plan to encourage the creation of new businesses and jobs is currently being prepared by the Commission with publication expected in the autumn.
"The plan is likely to focus on: facilitating transfers of business between owners, in the case of retirement etc; faster, more affordable procedures for winding up businesses in cases of legitimate bankruptcy; school-level entrepreneurship training; encouraging women entrepreneurs; and utilising the expertise and experience of citizens aged over 50."
"I welcome these measures and would like to see local SMEs or potential entrepreneurs reaching out to their local EEN office, such as in Galway or Sligo for further advice," Mr Higgins concluded.
A series of online guides to accessing SME finance have been published. There is over €50 billion worth of public finance through programmes at EU or Member State level to be accessed and SMEs can view this information at the following website: http://europa.eu/youreurope/business/finance-support/access-to-finance/index_en.htm