FIN-URB-ACT strives for more efficient local support structures for SMEs' development and innovative economies. The rationale is that such structures on local level - where financial instruments meet nonfinancial assistance - are basic prerequisites for fostering start-ups and business growth.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of the economy in many European cities. Especially in old-industrialised regions suffering from structural changes and transformation, SMEs and start-ups are considered as main motors for generating employment and growth and for diversifying the often mono-sector economic structure.
The focus is laid on the SMEs’ requirement for access to finance to prosper as one main element of successful business development. This is due to the fact that SMEs and especially start ups still perceive difficulties associated with limited access to finance for their business projects.
There is a need to fully integrate local financial institutions on the one hand and to better link regional and national support programme on the other hand since both are main sources of funding. Although in some cities local SME support partnerships are working quite successfully, there is still a need for improvement and support structures are far from being mainstream in all European cities.
One important aspect will be to improve SMEs' and innovative economy's access to finance to start up and prosper. Due the importance of financial support the involvement of local financial institutions will be crucial as well as the access to SME support schemes on regional/national level. The support structures will contain attractive financial and innovative non-financial instruments.
FIN-URB-ACT will interlink the integrated urban development approach and the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs, which sustantially increases the need to fully unlock the growth and jobs potential of SMEs and make full use of their innovative capacities. Thus, FIN-URB-ACT adds value to EU policies.
Being an implementation oriented project, focus will be laid on a practice oriented transfer of gained knowledge to the local level and on its application within Local Action Plans (LAP). On local level the partners will set up or improve their partnership within the Local Support Group (LSG).
Outputs include overall capitalisation and information material for all interested bodies. These can be amongst others a good practice compilation, a guidebook, thematic studies and policy recommendations for the local as well as the regional and European level.