Goal

Access to Risk Finance and SMEs NCP cooperation network – ACCESS4SMES is a 30 months Coordination and Support Action established with the aim to empower the network of National Contact Points (NCP) for Small Medium-sized Enterprises – SMEs and Access to risk finance –  ARF under Horizon 2020.

The overall objective is to facilitate transnational cooperation among NCPs for SMEs and ARF, upgrade their skills and tools in order to raise their standard of support, identifying and sharing good practices across SME/Industry dedicated instruments in Horizon 2020 in close collaboration with other EU networks. More in detail ACCESS4SMEs aims to:

  • Improving NCP capacities to provide systemic knowledge (NCP Curriculum) to clients across different funding actions and access to finance opportunities

  • Identifying key success factors for SME competitive proposals across different H2020 project thematic areas

  • Assessing the impact of SME Instrument on beneficiaries with a view on capturing patterns on SMEs’ growth strategy and value propositions

  • Spreading knowledge on access to risk finance opportunities under Horizon 2020, notably InnovFin products and sharing information and practices on financial instruments

  • Enhancing the outreach of the this Network through strategic communication and dissemination activities to maximize the impact of its activities, services and results

Access 4 SMEs

Methodology

The SME and ARF NCPs network builds upon three priority axes:

  • Empower SME and ARF NCPs with systemic knowledge and skills via training and coaching activities;

  • Reinforce the transnational cooperation dimension both within the NCPs network and EU-worldwide via good practices and knowledge sharing;

  • Raise the general standard of support to programme applicants via leveraging a pull of knowledge across SME and access to finance communities with a focus on SME dedicated instruments and access to finance facilities (e.g., SME Instrument, InnovFin)

These axes are backed by ad hoc methodological tools whereby ACCESS4SMEs will deliver the expected results:

  • Benchmarking

  • Trainings

  • Meet and Exchange workshops

  • Annotated proposal templates

  • Web platforms

  • Proposal impact assessment

  • Mobilisation and mutual learning among SME and ARF communities

Project performance will be constantly monitored by key performance indicators that have been identified for each Work package and will be reviewed and improved before the project initiation. In operational terms the NCPs network’s approach focuses on two level of participation: Beneficiaries (Core Group) and Associated Partners (involved in certain project activities including trainings). In addition, the “horizontal” collaboration with broad SME and access to finance communities (i.e., EU finance institutions, Enterprise Europe Network, EIB, EIF, financial intermediaries, venture enterprises, SME support platforms and EU finance associations), as well as national/regional authorities (ESIF managing authorities) is foreseen.

NCPsSMEs
BenchmarkingAnnotated proposal templates
Information eventsInformation events
Web platformsWeb platforms
Proposal impact assessmentProposal impact assessment
Trainings
Meet and Exchange workshops
Mobilisation and mutual learning among SME and ARF communities

Work packages

The overall structure of the A4SMES is divided into 6 Work Packages (WPs) which will be implemented through the 30 months of the project’s duration. The WPs aim at receiving the impacts foreseen within the project and are as follow:

  • WP1 “Project management”: project’s coordination activities, guaranteeing an efficient administrative and financial project management, ensuring at the same time a functional internal and efficient external communication both within the project and the EC;

  • WP2 “Services (benchmarking/trainings/ meet and exchange workshops) and cooperation with SME related networks (EEN):  improving SMEs and ARF NCPs work effectiveness and quality of services offered to applicants, ensuring a consistent level of services across Europe through effective collaboration with the EEN;

  • WP3 “Project quality – identifying and sharing good SME practices in H2020 projects”: analyzing successful projects and SMEs in H2020,ensuring a particular attention on positive factors and derive tools, to create recommendations for SMEs for competitive proposals;

  • WP4 Assessing the Roll-out of winning proposals and the evaluation of relevant impacts”: realizing a cohesive evaluation of the impact that the SME Instrument has had on the SME community;

  • WP5 “Fostering the use of Financial Instruments”: successful practices across countries will be identified in order to establish a Community of practice on financial instruments on directly/indirectly managed programs;

  • WP6 “Stakeholder engagement, communication and dissemination: create the tools and necessary linkages between all stakeholders, organizing communications, disseminating knowledge and information in order to facilitate synergies with the EEN and other NCP Networks.

The project expected impact is to enhance access to Horizon 2020 calls, lower the entry barriers for newcomers to access to finance, and raise the average quality of proposals submitted, by enabling NCPs to deliver better services to applicants across the EU and globally.

Partners

ACCESS4SMES is the network of Horizon 2020 National Contact Points (NCP) for Small Medium-sized Enterprises and Access to Risk Finance (SMEs, ARF). The overall objective is to facilitate transnational cooperation among NCPs for SMEs and ARF, upgrade their systemic knowledge and tools in order to raise their standard of support, identifying and sharing good practices across SME/Industry dedicated instruments in Horizon 2020 in close collaboration with other EU networks.

Partners