EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Boosting entrepreneurship of European SMEs — COSME programme

Boosting entrepreneurship of European SMEs — COSME programme



Regulation (EU) No 1287/2013 — establishing a programme for the competitiveness of enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME) (2014–20)


It establishes a European Union (EU) programme that seeks to boost support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by improving conditions under which entrepreneurship can thrive.


  • SMEs are the main contributors to economic growth and employment in the EU. Under the competitiveness of enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME) programme, it is now easier for SMEs to stay competitive through access to finance and markets, the simplification of regulation and the promotion of entrepreneurship.
  • COSME will provide a direct channel for communication between European SMEs and the European Commission.

Better business conditions

  • COSME will support actions that improve access to finance for SMEs from start-up to growth phases. Financial instruments include equality and loan guarantee facilities. In some cases, these can be used along with national financial instruments for regional policy and the Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation.
  • The programme will also grant better access to markets inside and outside the EU. The programme will provide information on areas such as:
    • available business opportunities,
    • barriers to market entry in areas outside the EU,
    • advice on legal and customs practices.
  • Support services on intellectual property rights, including assisting cross-border business cooperation, technology and R & D transfer and innovation partnerships, will also be provided.

Promoting competition

  • In order to maintain the competitiveness and sustainability of businesses, the programme aims to improve the design and implementation of existing policies that affect SMEs. It will also promote cross-border collaboration and support the development of products and services and technologies.
  • SMEs will also be encouraged to operate in an environmentally sustainable way and demonstrate social corporate responsibility.

A culture of entrepreneurship

  • The programme will also focus on promoting entrepreneurship. It aims to create an entrepreneurial culture in the EU by removing barriers that make it hard for small businesses to grow, including changing regulatory burdens already placed on SMEs.
  • The programme will pay particular attention to young female entrepreneurs, as well as other specific target groups, such as older people and entrepreneurs belonging to socially disadvantaged communities.


The programme has a budget of €2.3 billion over 7 years, and runs from 2014 to 2020. It will be managed by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.


It has applied since 23 December 2013.


For more information, see:


Regulation (EU) No 1287/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing a programme for the competitiveness of enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME) (2014–20) and repealing Decision No 1639/2006/EC (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, pp. 33-49)

last update 01.03.2018