The foolish European Union (EU), with its crazy rules and regulations, what a joke, what a laugh, what a waste of time.
Not an unusual sentence to overhear in any business (or pub) in the UK. Except this time, the EU might be doing something to help UK plc and every SME within it.
No, I haven’t eaten a plate of crazy for breakfast. It emerged last week that the European Parliament has adopted the first Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme.
This, to remove some of the euro-jargon, is a way that EU countries can help home-grown SMEs to develop, grow and innovate. And about time too. With China and the Far East already economic super powers – not to mention the manufacturing behemoth that China has evolved into – and the US still the dominant trading force in the world, it is surely about time that Europe stopped eating all the pies, stopped taking siestas and started to sit up, trim up and compete for global trade.
The EU has now pledged 3.6bn euro to help small companies start up, use technology and save energy. This, unfortunately, is where we hit a snag. While 3.6bn euros sounds like a large pot of money, it seems a little less impressive when you consider there are 3.7m businesses in the UK alone – 99 per cent of which are SMEs – and there are 25 countries in the EU.
However, let us forget for just one minute the suddenly shrinking pot of funding and the length of time it will take for any coffers to be filled, and concentrate on the fact that at least the EU is finally showing willing and attempting to support small businesses. The Federation of Small Business has been crying out for EU help for years, and previously the member states seemed to smother SMEs in red tape and constrictive policies and procedures.
Whether many UK SMEs, or indeed UK VARs or ISVs, will see a cent of the money is almost irrelevant; if the EU is finally starting to sit up and take notice of the small business community, then this in itself should bring its own rewards.
Distributor merges three northern sites into one new hub in Warrington
Activist investor puts forward five director candidates as turmoil continues at security giant
Nima Green asks what is driving public cloud uptake in Germany
Cybersecurity specialists claim that some generalist VARs are failing their customers