Project summary

PURE COSMOS brings together two of the big challenges facing the EU: the need to stimulate and support SMEs and the need to reduce the weight of public administration.

 So PURE COSMOS aims to improve the effectiveness of public support for SMEs by 15%, cutting costs by 10% and improving quality by 20%. We will develop highly integrated approaches to deliver these improvements and we will especially target entrepreneurs aged 25-40.

 We will improve regional policies through innovative new projects and by improving governance so that the different stakeholders can agree common solutions. We will do this by:

* analysing partners’ plans through peer review,

* identifying good practices that will improve these plans, studying them through Study Visits, importing them via special workshops and Regional Action Plans.

We will closely involve SMEs in the work.

 The project’s main outputs will benefit SMEs, especially young entrepreneurs. They are:

* New projects to implement advanced services such as e-payments tools, One Stop Shop, “digital by default” models, digital-skills support

* Improved governance through IT administrative solutions, regional legislation review, simplifying and speed up the launching of new businesses calls.

All Action Plans will be prepared using intense cooperation between the key decision-makers (horizontal cooperation) and between the city and the MAs (vertical cooperation). The project will also work closely with the IE Policy Learning Platform.


from 1 Apr 2016
to 31 Mar 2021

SME competitiveness

What policy instruments does the project address?


The OP ERDF 2014-2020 of the Liguria Region includes in it the activities related to the creation, development and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises. In particular: Priority Axis 3 “Competitiveness of SMEs”, TO 3 “Enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs c) supporting the establishment and expansion of SMEs capacity for the development of advanced products and services”. The policy instrument recognizes the centrality of SMEs for the economic growth of the Liguria Region, identifying the tools for a policy strongly linked to the "think small first" principle focused on the following actions: • simplification of procedures and red tape, • encouragement of business combinations, • introduction of digital innovation in business processes, promoting the transition from standard tools to the most advanced.


The ERDF data show that in 2013 the Ligurian GDP decreased by 1.8% and this data was worse than other parts of the Northwest of Italy that lost 1.3%. In this context Administrative simplification plays a key role to reduce regulatory complexity and uncertainty for the development of SMEs and reduce unnecessary burdens created by bureaucracy and paperwork. In its OP the Liguria Region has planned productive investment linked to the consolidation of businesses to achieve the grow of regional production, its technological development and the employment in general. 

Which partners are working on this?
  • Municipality of Genoa


The partner intends to improve the policy instruments included in the Regional Operational Programmes under ERDF (Priority Axis 3 - Action 3.5.1 ERDF ROP Tuscany), related to the support to the promotion of the competitiveness of SMEs and entrepreneurship, thus improving the dynamism of the economic system. The specific objective is the creation and development of Micro Small and Medium enterprises (RA 3.5), by facilitating the economic exploitation of new ideas and fostering the creation of new firms.


Tuscany is facing the entrepreneurship crisis phenomenon (many SMEs are closing) not well balanced by the creation of new ones (since 2008, in fact, the turnover tax is negative). The choice of activate this specific objective is based on the decision of contrasting these negative dynamics, by the realization of actions devoted to increase the dynamism of productive system through a simplified and facilitated access to the beaurocratic and administrative processes.  

Which partners are working on this?
  • Municipality of Florence

The Hajdú-Bihar County Territorial Development Operational Programme (HBCTDOP) defines the vision of the county, the development targets and the intervention areas and the development trends needed to reach the targets. The 3rd priority of the strategy deals with the development of competitive economy. The objective is the implementation of measures towards the increasing of SMEs, hence supporting national enterprises. This priority concentrates on the advanced, well run sectors on one hand, which can be a development opportunity for less enterprises as well and on the other hand it focuses on the less developed sectors and aims to increase their competitiveness too. This priority intends to boost entrepreneurial activities as well through increasing capital investments; entering in new, mainly foreign markets; supporting joint investments. Action 3.4 creates the possibility for knowing, acquiring and exchanging good practices and innovation through the complex innovation chain. The strategy also supports the international appearance and the strengthening of the international cooperations of enterprises. Boosting entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial activity is crucial: this means the enhancement of umbrella organisations and the simplification of administrative activities as well. Hajdu-Bihar County Council would like to contribute to the solution of these problems with the good practices identified in PURE COSMOS project. 

Which partners are working on this?
  • Hajdú-Bihar County Government

The Mittelstandsoffensive comprises all activity in favour of SMEs of the regional government of Saxony-Anhalt. Section III.1. states how the regional government wants to improve framework conditions for SME. Section III. 2 comprises financial funding instruments the regional government offers for SME. Funding schemes under the structural funds programs 2014 – 2020 like the “Beratungshilfeprogramm” (finances consultants for SMEs) and the “Messefördung” are an integral part of the Mittelstandsoffensive. Section III.1g) of Mittelstandsoffensive states that cutting red tape for the structural funds programs is an important step towards a more business friendly climate in Saxony-Anhalt and can improve the conditions of SME for investment and growth. As partner of PURE Cosmos the Investitionsbank strives for improving processes to offer better, on-line based services and provide faster access to funding. (912characters)

Which partners are working on this?
  • Development Bank of Saxony-Anhalt

The UK government has decided that the ERDF in England will be delivered by the network of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). In accordance with this, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP (GBSLEP) has adopted the "European Structural Investment Fund Strategy” which combines a range of funds (including ERDF) into an integrated programme. For PURE COSMOS This includes Investment priority 3 of ERDF priority axis 3: Promoting entrepreneurship. In particular this will facilitate the economic exploitation of new ideas and foster the creation of new firms, including through business incubators. In the GBSLEP European Structural Investment Fund Strategy this corresponds to Priority 2: Stimulating Business and Enterprise. This sets out a range of strategic activities covering the whole life cycle of business development and growth across GBSLEP region. It addresses the needs of early stage and SMEs particularly to generate more high growth firms; increase the proportion of exporting firms; improve the level of investment in innovation.The Structural and Investment Funds are expected by the UK Government to support this agenda by ‘building capacity of existing businesses, including social enterprises and micro-enterprises, ensuring they reach their growth potential and supporting an entrepreneurial culture to encourage sustainable new businesses 

Which partners are working on this?
  • Birmingham City Council

Prolonged recession and the steady increase in unemployment rates have had a very negative cumulative effect on companies, especially small and micro enterprises, which represent the overwhelming majority of Greek SMEs. SMEs need support to increase their investments and develop new forms of cooperation and networking at national and international level. Priorities concerned:

• Strengthening of regional entrepreneurship by supporting the creation of new innovative companies

• Increase in production rate and market entry of new innovative products / services

• Promotion of clusters is the continuation of a long‑term plan for establishing strong cores of business activities which have the potential to exploit research results in order to create innovative products and services.

• Improvement of the competitiveness of SMEs through technological modernization and improvement of their administrative capacity and their staff. The particular importance of national and regional policies for SMEs in Greece is clear, more than in the other EU Member States for the following two reasons:

a. drastic recession of the country in relation to employment capacity and investments;

b. drastic reduction in the number of SMEs while still directly threatening the viability of thousands of small businesses, with well-known consequences for employment, the social benefits system and government revenues. 

Which partners are working on this?
  • Development Agency of Eastern Thessaloniki’s Local Authorities (ANATOLIKI SA)


The policy instrument focuses on increase of number of SME ś and number of working places by public services improvement and support of development of projects leading to more effective solutions and financial savings. The main areas for searching of innovative solutions and projects development are in particular ICT infrastructures  e-government  solutions. The aim is to reach financial savings, affectivity in public services provision, services of new quality and designs on new solutions.


Ústí Region is the region with the highest unemployment rate in the Czech Republic and support of establishment of new SMEs and by this creation of new working places are of a high priority of the Regional government. The regional office will present the work with SMEs already provided, but what is expected is the transfer of best practices form experienced project partners. The direct contact and communication with EU stakeholders will show to regional representatives the new ways of work and involvement of regional stakeholders. Regional SMEs representatives participation in the project help to identify the main bottlenecks in SMEs establishment and development to create the suitable activities which might be provided by the Region. The developed strategies and know-how reached by the Ústí Region will serve also to other EU regions suffering with the similar problems as Ústí Region  

Which partners are working on this?
  • Ústí Region


One of the main problems to SMEs competitiveness is the amount of administrative costs and procedures. New policies and measures are needed to contribute to the improvement of rates of business creation and consolidation. In this sense, Extremadura has been developing an Employment, Entrepreneurs and Companies Plan which priorities and objectives are adapted to those goals established in Europe 2020 Strategy. This plan promotes the development of a new productive model based on modernization,and simplification of administrative procedures to foster entrepreneurship and improve the relationship between the administration and citizens. In this way, Law 4/2013 (de 21 de mayo, de Gobierno Abierto de Extremadura) establishes instruments that enable greater efficiency of public administration through simplified and innovative structures and procedures. One of these instruments is the Simplification Plan about creating entrepreneurial activities.


Although there have been a lot of improvements, the previous work shows the need to carry on working on this subject since some measures have been taken only a few months ago. In this sense, the regional government has to go on analysing the procedures in order to ease business creation and boost e-government. Moreover, a better coordination is needed at all governance levels in order to facilitate procedures for new (and ongoing) businesses. 

Which partners are working on this?
  • Government of Catalonia (Department of Business and Knowledge)