Horizon 2020 – 15% of €80 Billion budget earmarked for SME Market
The eagerly awaited Horizon2020 seven-year funding plan from 2014 to 2020 for research and innovative was released by the European Commission in Brussels on 30 November 2011.
‘A break from the past and an investment in our future’ was how Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science explained the background to the plan. Horizon 2020 will be a key tool in implementing the Innovation Union flagship initiatives as set out.
The plan will need to go through a series of lobbying before all its proposals are agreed and it is expected that these will be discussed in more detail at the Competitive Council Meet up on 5-6 Dec 2011. Funding proposals as set out include:
• A 77 per cent jump to €13.2 billion for the European Research Council
• €5.75 billion for the Marie Curie Action Fund
• A rise from €308 million to €2.8 billion to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology
• €31.7 billion for societal challenges such as ageing population, food security, green energy & climate action
• 15 per cent of the budget is earmarked for the SME market.
It is hopeful that some of this funding will be set against recent proposals issued by the ‘Small Business Advisory Group’ in their report ‘The Voice of Small Business – A Plan for Action’.
This report commissioned by the Minister for State for Small Business, Mr John Perry T.D. in June 2011 has advanced open discussions between business, the enterprise development agencies and Government on the challenges faced by SME’s in Ireland. The Report and ‘plan for action’ was presented to the Taoiseach on Wed 23 November 2011.
Although the report contains well known issues, such as difficulty with accessing credit, labour market costs & flexibility and local authority structures; this report sets out a series of logical short and long-term goals aimed towards helping SME’s compete on a level play field and to help businesses to help themselves.
The Taoiseach was appreciative to all members of the group for participating in the task and the Minister for Small Business John Perry shared his views on the actions proposed by the task group:
“There are very good, practical and pragmatic ideas which aim to address immediate barriers and to set the scene for growth and job creation.”
ISME (Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association) have strongly welcomed this report and are now demanding that Banks lend to SME’s as a matter of urgency, following a daming report which demonstrates that Small businesses are continuing to suffer because banks continue to withhold credit.