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EU with massive venture fund

European Commission proposes to invest billions to provide finance for new European technologies and small companies.
Venture Capitalist firms already coming on board to provide finance for companies to use innovative technologies as low risk.

A long term strategic plan by the European Commission (EC) to rebuild the European economy by investing in the development of new technologies is now reached the stage where it will start to have an impact as it reaches the commercialisation phase. The EU is proposing to make several billion Euros available for companies to enable this to happen as a key part of the new EC Horizon 2020 programme, which starts in 2014 and replaces FP7 and CIP. Crucially, a part of this support is aimed at entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs because these are seen as providing the engine for the economic recovery as, being nimble and fast, they can bring these new innovative technologies to market quickly.

Since 2003, more than EUR 400 million has been co-invested by the European Commission into more than 130 European research projects to develop innovative, Smart Systems technologies to reinforce European scientific excellence and competitiveness. This specific area of Smart Systems can deliver significant competitive advantages across a wide range of application fields such as Life Sciences, IT & Telecoms, Agrofood, Environment and Energy. More than 50 projects have now reached the stage of promising contacts with investors and customers, and are on their way to commercialisation. This is all co-ordinated in the Smart System area by the COWIN initiative, which is dedicated to encourage the transfer of IP, and the formation and growth of young companies.

Pierre Marro, Policy Officer at the EC, explained, "The EC recognises that these small to medium sized companies are the champions of tomorrow and we want to help them grow and be successful. Currently, EC programmes and projects required several companies from a minimum of three different countries to co-operate. The new EC Horizon 2020 is being finalised at the moment. This is being designed to add a completely new package with simplified procedures and without these constraints of co-operations to specifically provide new technologies holders with help in starting and running companies right through to finance help. Lack of finance has been a stumbling block in the past due to the economic crisis, so a key new service in Horizon 2020 will be dedicated to providing access to finance with new instruments dedicated to SMEs and access to risk financing that will really help companies grow quickly and create new jobs and economic wealth."

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