Main funding opportunities
Improving SMEs’ access to finance and markets
The Single Market Programme aims to improve SMEs’ access to finance and markets. The programme is managed by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA).
SMEs supporting the EU’s energy, transport and digital networks
SMEs are also eligible for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, which finances projects related to energy, transport and ICT. The CEF strands are managed by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) and the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA).
SMEs in the field of research and innovation
SMEs in the European regions
EU Cohesion policy aims to reduce disparities in wealth between Europe’s regions. It focuses on investing in regions, cities and the real economy to stimulate growth and jobs. It addresses climate change and dependence on energy imports, and reduces poverty and social exclusion.
Supporting SMEs is a key priority of cohesion policy. Each EU country is responsible for managing cohesion funding on its own territory.
Supporting SMEs in the agriculture sector
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) makes funding available to small companies through:
- the School fruit, vegetables and milk scheme and the Promotion of EU farm products
- direct payment under the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund
- the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
Other funding opportunities for SMEs
- The European Commission provides grants to support projects or organisations which further the interests of the EU. SMEs and other interested parties can apply by responding to calls for proposals under the EU funding programmes. It also uses public contracts to buy goods and services. The providers are selected through calls for tender.
- Support for entrepreneurs and businesses is available through a wide range of EU programmes, via local financial institutions. The “Access to finance” portal helps find EU financing for projects such as loans, guarantees, equity funding and many others.
- The Microfinance Facility of the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) helps the SME sector by providing loans of up to €25,000 to individuals for setting up or developing a small business.
- The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) provides support to SMEs to help them improve their competitiveness, for example through training.
- The European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) enables SMEs to benefit from higher levels of support as the vast majority of firms in fisheries and aquaculture are SMEs.
- the LIFE programme for climate action, managed by CINEA, helps companies bring their green products, technologies, services and processes to the market by financing the so-called close-to-market projects
- Funding opportunities in the field of development