The transition to economic, environmental and social sustainability has become a major priority for the European Commission and for the Brussels Capital Region. But SMEs engaged in this transition often drown in pressure coming from the regulator, their customers and their value chain, in addition to receiving confusing information on which measures to prioritise. But Brussels SMEs are not alone! Indeed, Enterprise Europe Brussels (EEB) and NCP Brussels organised a workshop on 30 May targeted to Brussels-based SMEs feeling lost or disoriented in their transition towards more sustainability. This seminar was an opportunity to learn more about the services offered by EEB and the funding opportunities under Horizon Europe.
How Enterprise Europe Brussels (EEB) can support SME’s pathway towards more sustainability through tailor-made support
EEB, as part of the EEN Network, indeed has the unique chance to facilitate the path of Brussels-based SMEs towards heir sustainable transition. EEB’s sustainability advisors can offer tailor-made support to ensure your green transition, strengthening your economic, environmental and social sustainability. Thanks to EEB’s network knowledge on EU-level organisations relevant to sustainability, regional organisations offering sustainability-related services, the EEB sustainability advisors will also deliver advice on access to finance, partnering and technology transfer services, advice on EU legislation and standards, support for EU certification schemes.
The concrete example of 3 SMEs in France, Austria and Spain who benefited from EEN support in their own sustainable initiatives was presented to the participants as a potential source of inspiration on the different forms that these initiatives and that EEN support can take, depending on very specific needs and objectives.
Can SMEs benefit from Horizon Europe funding to support their sustainable projects?
Regarding the potential funding under Horizon Europe for sustainability-related projects, the participating SMEs received a presentation of the basic rules of eligibility and main types of activities under Horizon Europe projects in order to assess whether their ideas had the potential to be funded under the relevant Work Programmes. Participants also received practical advice on how an SME could successfully participate in a broader collaborative project under Horizon Europe through the testimonials from Stefano Sedola from StratejAI on the AIDA project, and Cyrille Janssens from Beeodiversity on the UPSURGE project. In particular, the questions of finding the right partners, the workload involved in preparing and then implementing projects, and relations with other non-SMEs partners within a project consortium were raised by participants. The NCPs also presented a couple of currently open topics linked to sustainability challenges in the area of energy, mobility and food.
Finally, the Be Circular 2023 call was also presented to the participants, as it includes specific financial support from the Region (up to €200,000), individual coaching by coaches with technical business expertise, and visibility as a showcase for the circular economy in the Brussels Region.