About the COSME program

In December 2013, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted the Framework Program For The Competitiveness Of Enterprises And Small And Medium-Sized Enterprises 2014-2020 COSME (Program for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises).

The main goals of the program are:

  • strengthening the competitiveness and sustainability of EU enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises
  • fostering an entrepreneurial culture, supporting job creation and SME growth.

The programme’s budget is EUR 2.3 billion, of which at least 60% (EUR 1.4 billion) will be allocated to financial instruments.

The COSME program is a continuation of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Program (CIP) for 2007-2013. The CIP was created primarily to promote the competitiveness of European small and medium-sized enterprises, through support of innovative activity, providing better access to finance and the provision of business support services. In 2014-2020, support for competitiveness and small and medium-sized enterprises is continued under the COSME program, while the support for innovative activities was included in the Horizon 2020 program, complementary to the COSME programme.

Within the COSME program, four aims of activities are implemented:

Improving access to markets thanks to Enterprise Europe Network services for entrepreneurs, including: information services on European Union law and participation in EU programs,

  • support in acquiring foreign partners, in the European Union and outside the EU,
  • advice on financing options,
  • support for the transfer of innovation and technology,
  • ensuring communication between enterprises and the European Commission on the conditions for doing business in the EU.

Improving the access of small and medium-sized enterprises to financing, thanks to financial instruments:

  • Credit Guarantee Facility
  • Equity Facility for Growth

Improving the conditions for the creation and development of enterprises by:

  • reducing administrative and legal burdens, i.a. thanks to the reduction of mandatory reporting,
  • identification and dissemination of good practices in supporting entrepreneurship at local, regional and national level,
  • analysis of the effectiveness of entrepreneurship support tools in particular countries,
  • support for individual sectors, with particular emphasis on tourism.

Promotion of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture, through:

  • Entrepreneurship education – COSME supports the exchange of information on best practices in entrepreneurship education.
  • Improving the conditions for running a business to enable the growth and development of enterprises. Along with the improvement of the legal and tax system, recommendations are prepared regarding the best ways to support enterprises at various stages of their development. Internet companies will be given special attention.
  • Special tools for selected groups – special programs cover selected social groups, such as young people, women or older entrepreneurs.

Financial instruments

The financing of the activities and development of SMEs under COSME is implemented through guarantee and equity instruments.

Loan Guarantee Facility (LGF): under COSME, the European Investment Fund provides free portfolio guarantees to financial institutions (banks, leasing companies, guarantee funds, etc.) offering financial products for small and medium-sized enterprises. Thanks to the sharing of risk, these institutions can expand the product range and offer financing to SMEs on more favorable terms: for a lower price, with a longer repayment period, with lower requirements for collateral, own contribution, etc. This allows for making financial products available also to those entrepreneurs who in the absence of a financial instrument, COSME cannot count on obtaining the necessary financing. The facility also includes counter-guarantees, i.e. EIF guarantees to financial institutions that subsequently provide their own guarantees to SME product providers, and guarantees for securitization of SME debt portfolios.

Equity Facility for Growth (EGF): Under COSME, the European Investment Fund offers equity financing for venture capital funds or mezzanine funds for small and medium-sized enterprises in the expansion and growth phase. This allows the scope of financing to be extended to such enterprises.

From August 2014, financial institutions offering products for SMEs can apply for the role of financial intermediaries with the instruments of the COSME program.

The offer of preferential financing for Polish entrepreneurs under the COSME program has been available since December 2015. Polish financial intermediaries are:

  • 8 commercial banks and over 100 cooperative banks offering preferential loans, participating in the program through Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego.
  • PKO Leasing, offering preferential leasing and leasing loans,
  • Bank Pekao, offering preferential investment and working capital loans,
  • POLFUND Credit Guarantee Fund, offering guarantees on preferential terms.

The current financing offer for Polish entrepreneurs under the EU framework programs: OFFER DESCRIPTION – podlinkowanie

Useful addresses

Information on the COSME programme (except for financial instruments) of the Enterprise Europe Network