European Union investments with added boost for Small Businesses

Commission gives green light to €3.6 billion EU Structural fund investments with added boost for small business in England.

The European Commission adopted today the England Operational Programme for 2014-2020, worth 6.5 billion euro with 3.6 billion euro coming from the European Regional Development Fund. Investment will focus on research and innovation, supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and promoting the low carbon economy, through energy efficiency measures.

40% of the programme – an allocation of 1.464 billion – will go towards supporting SMEs. This should result in 65,000 SMEs receiving business support by 2023. Emphasis will also be put on the role of financial instruments to help leverage and multiply the value of EU structural funds. This will provide much needed finance for business related projects as well as in the field of energy efficiency.

Funding priorities

The programmes will focus on eight main priorities:

  • Enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs – 40% of funding.

The remaining 60% of funding will focus on the following priorities

  • Strengthening RTD and innovation
  • Supporting the shift towards a low carbon economy
  • Enhancing access to, and use and quality of, ICT
  • Preserving and protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency
  • Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management
  • Sustainable transport in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
  • Promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and discrimination.

Expected impacts

  • 65,000 SMEs will receive business support by 2023;
  • 20,000 enterprises will be actively innovating and bringing new products and/or processes to the market by 2023;
  • An increase of sites generating local energy renewables and reducing local carbon emissions and therefore a projected reduction of over 360,000 tonnes of CO2;
  • 45,000 businesses with broadband access of at least 30mbps