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SME Update

 Cannot read this email? Open in your browser.March 2020 
 

SME Update

March

 
 
 
 

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Subscribe to our periodic policy updates! Get the latest news on SME, tax, technology, audit and sustainable finance.

 
 
 
 
 

Coronavirus resources for European accountants

 
 
 

Our online hub gathers resources and initiatives on coronavirus across the EU.

 
 
 
 

Highlights

 
 
 
 
  • European Commission launches new SME strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe
  • European Investment Bank to mobilise up to €40 billion to fight coronavirus crisis, including for SMEs
  • EU boosts financing for Italian SMEs with €30 million from European Investment Fund
 
 
 
 
 

Feature story

 
 
 
 

European Commission launches SME strategy

The strategy aims to support European SMEs through strengthening their capacities to adapt to climate neutrality, help them reap the benefits of digitalisation, reduce the regulatory burden that SMEs face, and improve their opportunities to access finance. The objective is to unleash the power of Europe’s SMEs and increase the number of SMEs engaging in sustainable business practices as well as the number of SMEs employing digital technologies.

The new SME Strategy puts forward actions based on the following three pillars:

  • Capacity-building and support for the transition to sustainability and digitalisation to ensure adequate support and advice on digitalisation for SMEs through exchange of best practices, know-how and skills;
  • Reducing regulatory burden and improving market access: The Commission will set up a new Fit for Future Platform whose role will be to screen existing EU legislation to identify potential for simplification and administrative burden reduction. Moreover, the EC will consider measures to further help SMEs with late payment challenges, including setting up a virtual observatory for monitoring payment delays, clarifying unfair payment practices and exploring alternative resolution/mediation mechanisms;
  • Improving access to financing by setting up a public-private SME IPO Fund to support SMEs through the listing process and by launching a new green tech investment initiative to increase access to equity finance for SMEs that develop and adopt green tech solutions. Read More
 
 
 
 
 

EU Developments

 
 
 
 

European Commission


Start-ups, SMEs take up €344 million EU research funding

107 innovative projects from across Europe will be supported with €344 million through the EU’s European Innovation Council pilot says the EC.

Funded by Horizon 2020, the selected proposals comprise an array of unique project concepts aimed at improving surgical precision during cancer-removal surgery, modernising local and global air quality monitoring, and bringing about many other ground-breaking innovations. Read More

 

State aid: Commission approves €3 billion Portuguese guarantee schemes for SMEs and midcaps affected by Coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found four Portuguese guarantee schemes for SMEs and midcaps affected by the Coronavirus outbreak to be in line with EU State aid rules. The schemes, with a total budget of €3 billion, were approved under the State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020. Read More

State aid: Commission approves Danish guarantee scheme for SMEs affected by Coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found a DKK 1 billion (approx. €130 million) Danish guarantee scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by Coronavirus outbreak to be in line with EU State aid rules. The scheme aims at limiting the risks associated with issuing operating loans to those companies that are most severely affected by the economic impact of the Coronavirus outbreak. The objective of the measure is to ensure these companies can continue their activities faced with the difficult situation caused by the coronavirus. Read More

COVID-19: Commission sets out European coordinated response to counter the economic impact of the Coronavirus

The EC is supporting SMEs that are facing economic difficulties due to the COVID-19 outbreak. To bring immediate relief to hard-hit SMEs, the EU budget will deploy its existing instruments to support these companies with liquidity, complementing measures taken at national level. €1 billion will be redirected from the EU budget as a guarantee to the EIF to incentivise banks to provide liquidity to SMEs and midcaps. This will help at least 100,000 European SMEs and small mid-caps with about €8 billion of financing. The Commission will also provide credit holidays to the existing debtors that are negatively affected. Read More

Digital innovation hubs helping public sector and SMEs in dealing with COVID-19 pandemic

On March 25th a dedicated community of Digital Innovation Hubs met to discuss the immediate and longer-term needs of SMEs due to COVID-19 and where digital tools could help them in becoming more resilient. During webinar interesting examples of innovative solutions that SMEs are coming up to directly fight the crisis were shared. One of the projects that arose during the discussion was DIH4CPS which aims to support European SMEs to overcome obstacles posed by innovative technology, also through open calls financing experiments in the area of cyber-physical systems.  Read More

 
 
 
 
 

International Developments

 
 
 
 

Disclosure of non-financial information should remain voluntary according to SME United

SME United has published its first  reaction on the announcement by the European Commission in the Green Deal to review  the  Non-Financial Information Reporting Directive (NFRD). The Organisation recognizes that Non-Financial Information can be useful for the decision-making process but Non-Financial Disclosure should remain a voluntary engagement for small businesses. Read More

What SMEs expect from the WTO

SME United and its member organisations are strongly supportive of the ongoing work of the informal working group on Micro-, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). SME United calls on the informal working group and especially the EU to establish a comprehensive work programme for MSMEs. This work programme should contain different measures in order to improve the international trade environment for the smallest businesses and ensure that all companies, regardless of size, can benefit from equal and unfettered access to the global trading system, leading to a robust world economy. Read More

EIB Group will mobilise up to EUR 40 billion to help SMEs amid the coronavirus crisis

The EIB Group has proposed a plan to mobilize up to €40 billion of financing. This will go towards bridging loans credit holidays and other measures designed to alleviate liquidity and working capital constraints for SMEs and mid-caps. The EIB Group, including the European Investment Fund (EIF), will work through financial intermediaries in the Member States and in partnership with national promotional banks. Among other measures, there will be a dedicated liquidity line to banks to ensure additional working capital support for SMEs and mid-caps of  €10 billion. Read More

 
 
 
 
 

National Developments

 
 
 
 

Coronavirus: accountants play ‘key role’ accessing emergency funding

ICAEW has welcomed the Chancellor’s pledge to provide a £350bn funding boost to help the UK economy weather the debilitating effects of coronavirus and urged accountants to communicate and signpost the measures to business. ICAEW’s Director for Business and Industrial Strategy commented that the accountancy profession has a key role to play in helping businesses navigate their way through the perils of the crisis. Moreover, mortgage lenders have agreed to support people impacted by Covid-19 through a payment holiday of up to three months. Read More

Ireland Announces Help For SMEs With Cash-Flow Issues

The Irish Revenue has issued advices on the steps it is taking to help SMEs experiencing cashflow and trading difficulties arising from the impact of the coronavirus. Regarding the application of interest on late payments, Revenues reported that it has been suspended for January/February VAT and for both February and March PAYE (Employers) liabilities. Moreover, Revenue advised that business experiencing temporary cash flow difficulties should continue to send in tax returns on time. Read More

 
 
 
 
 

Other news

 
 
Blue and green tomorrow
 
Four tips to make your business more sustainable
 
Small Business Trends
 
Six things small business owners need to know about 5G
 
EASME
 
Uptake of CSR by SMEs and Start-ups
 
Forbes
 
Facebook announces $100 million grant program for small businesses being impacted by coronavirus
 
ICAEW
 
Late payments: how should SMEs deal with them?
 
European Commission
 
EU boosts financing for Italian SMEs with €30 million from European Investment Fund
 
 
 

Events

 
 
15/04/2020
 
Webinar: The Importance of IP for SMEs - European IP Helpdesk
 

This curated content was brought to you by Johan Barros, Accountancy Europe policy manager since 2015. You can send him tips by email, follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

 
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