On December 10,2015 in Brussels, the Minister of Economy of the Republic of Armenia Karen Chshmaritian and the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowskasigned the Agreement on Armenia's participation in COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Programme).
The Programme՛՛Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME, 2014 - 2020)՛՛ is the EU financed Programme, which is available for EU member states and for the countries involved in European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)and started from 29th December 2015, also for Armenia.
Armenia is the seventh country outside the EU to join and contribute to the Programme, after Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Turkey, Albania and Serbia.
The budget of the COSME programme running from 2014 to 2020 is €2.3bn. COSME will support SMEs in the following directions:
- Access to finance;
- Access to markets;
- Encouraging entrepreneurship;
- Creating better framework conditions for competitiveness.
Main beneficiaries of the Programme are SME entities, individual entrepreneurs, business support organizations, as well as regional and national development bodies.
Armenia already benefits from the COSME by participating in the Enterprise Europe Network, a key component of COSME since January 2016. The Enterprise Europe Network helps SMEs to develop their internationalization and innovation capacities, facilitating access to EU markets.
COSME will support realization of the projects on a wide range of topics that include but not limited to clustering, women entrepreneurship, the sustainable and competitive growth of tourism sector, entrepreneurship education and culture, exchange of experience of young entrepreneurs, etc.
COSME membership will grant an opportunity to Armenian organizations engaged in SME sector development to participate in various open grant calls announced within the framework of COSME Programme.
The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) manages COSME on behalf of the European Commission. Expressions of interest related to COSME can be found on the EASME website. Applications to open calls are made through the Participant Portal.