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    Belgian SMEs are under-using available European subsidies

    © Belga
    The SME Instrument was implemented in 2014, so as to accelerate international growth of European small and medium-sized enterprises.
    © Belga

    In an article on Friday, L’Echo finds that of the 3,832 projects that have obtained financing from the European Commission within the framework of SME assistance, 45 are Belgian. However, although Belgium is considered as a breeding-ground for SMEs, it is ranked 19th amongst member states. Moreover Flemish businesses capture 88% of such resources granted to Belgium.

    The mechanism, known as the SME Instrument was implemented in 2014, so as to accelerate international growth of European small and medium-sized enterprises. The financial envelope anticipated by the EU is €3 billion to distribute over 7,500 projects between 2014 and 2020.

    Belgian companies have shared €13.5 million in aid with, as indicated above, 88% being taken by Flanders. L’Echo writes that in Wallonia only Walloon Brabant, with six projects selected, is holding its own.

    In a further article, L’Echo draws a similar portrait for European aid for research and development. Wallonia is bottom of the class when it comes to seeking finance. Of the €1.48 billion injected into Belgium as part of the Horizon 2020 programme, Walloon companies only captured 10.8% (€160 million).

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times