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European Charter Conference - Facilitating SMEs life!

June 03, 2008
European Charter Conference - Facilitating SMEs life!

On 3-4 June 2008 the next Charter conference is going to take place in Bled/Brdo, Slovenia. Each year the Charter conference presents the best policy measures to make SMEs life easier all over Europe.


This year's conference workshops tackle among other "better regulation for the benefit of SMEs", "fostering the internationalisation of SMEs" and "entrepreneurship education". Around 40% of the presentations will be given by business organisations and entrepreneurs to explain the businesses view on the Member States' measures.


Key-note speakers Andrej Vizjak, the Slovene Minister of Economy and Heinz Zourek, Director-General of DG Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission, will give an overview of the support that SMEs can count upon at EU level for the time to come, a young Slovene entrepreneur from a start-up company Acies Bio will reflect his experience with EU policies.


Bulgaria is going to present its programme of High school Training firms that offers annually some 3000 pupils practical education for business. BBLF was officially chosen by the European Commission to present the position of Bulgarian business at the conference due to its successful partnership with the Bulgarian Training Firms Network, Bulgarian Centre of Training Firms - Ministry of Education and Science and the Association "Bulgarian Training Centre".


On the conference the British Cleaning and Support services association demonstrates how a whole sector now can save up to ? 250m thanks to the new health and safety risk assessment templates provided by public administration. A young entrepreneur will talk about the training camp that bi-annually offers 200 young entrepreneurs from the Nordic countries a week-long intensive business training.


Estonia explains its experiences with the new governmental public consultations portal and the Swedish tax agency presents the benefits of  tax representatives that have just been enabled to do the electronic tax declaration for SMEs in this country.


The confederation of Finnish Industries will assess the KIVI-programme which offers all national internationalisation services via a common platform. Spain will present its exemplary PIPE-programme which supported nearly 5000 SMEs in internationalising their business. Germany will demonstrate how they set-up the one-stop-shop Inter-Ned with the Netherlands to foster cross-border activities of their respective SMEs.


Wales will demonstrate how the government manages to offer entrepreneurship education to pupils and students of all ages. Today more than 300 entrepreneurs serve as role models in schools to present the fascination of their job to annually 50.000 pupils all over the country.

The conference shows that the Charter countries are increasingly inclined to take up each others successful SME policies - one of the main goals of the Charter.


For example, The French "SME pact", which committees large companies and public agencies to buy more from innovative SMEs, was partly inspired by a Norwegian scheme and has itself since inspired Italy and the Netherlands. The Estonian public consultation website was inspired by similar portals from the United Kingdom and Finland.


In other areas, Member States have cooperated right from the start to set up measures together. This is case for the CETMOS patent search system: Austria and eight other countries have just enabled businesses to do a joint search of the databases of their respective patent offices via one single search. Germany cooperates with four other countries to internationalise the vocational qualifications for car mechatronics via a multilingual online learning platform. Another example is Slovenia which exchanged experiences with the United Kingdom, Denmark and Norway before setting up a system for the reduction of administrative burden. Slovenia has since presented its new system to delegations from Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia.


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