Serbia joins COSME to support the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Serbia and the European Union (EU) signed an agreement on the support to the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Serbia in Brussels on 10th November 2015. The Agreement between the EU and Serbia, which will come into effect as of 1st January 2016, confirms the participation of our country in the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Programme (COSME) until 2020.

COSME is the EU programme aimed at SMEs running from 2014 to 2020. The programme general objective is to strengthen the competitiveness of SMSs, and thus decrease the unemployment in the county. The Ministry of Economy will be in charge of coordinating the activities of COSME.

The Programme consists of four components: Facilitating access to finance – guarantees and venture capital; Access to markets; Creating an environment favourable to competitiveness and Encouraging entrepreneurship.

The Programme beneficiaries are existing entrepreneurs and SMEs who will have facilitated access to finance aimed at enterprise development and growth, furthermore, future entrepreneurs and SMEs through the start-up support, as well as national and local authorities through the transfer of best practice and financial support to test and scale up sustainable solutions for improving global competitiveness.

The programmes objectives:

• Facilitating access to finance for SMEs,

• Support to entrepreneurial ideas, creating an environment favourable to business and growth,

• Support to SMEs for businesses outside Serbia and facilitating access to the EU market,

• Competitiveness and sustainability of enterprises, including tourism,

• Facilitating access to the markets within the EU.

The budget of COSME, which the EU is implementing in the 2014-2020 period and which beneficiaries are EU MSs and candidate countries, is EUR 2,298 bn.

Further information may be obtained on the websites of EU institutions implementing COSME.

European Commission – DG Growth (Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs)

Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprise