Press release

The 2009 SME Week

Now is the time for action for Biotech SMEs

Brussels, 6 May 2009 - EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, supports the first European SME Week (1), taking place from 6 to 14 May 2009, and coordinated by the European Commission. EuropaBio continues to advocate for Small and Medium sized Enterprises and represents over 1800 biotech SMEs, via our national associations, that are in dire need for support at this time.
In the EU, SMEs comprise approximately 99% of all firms and employ about 75 million people. Within the biotech industry, SMEs face particular obstacles, especially due to long and costly development processes. While larger biotech firms already have products on the market, young, innovative biotech SMEs need significant levels of funding to develop a product before commercialization, and this funding has often proved insufficient, especially in the current times of economic and financial crisis. According to recent figures published, around 20% of Europe’s biotech companies, the overwhelming majority of which are SMEs, could be gone by the end of 2009 if no immediate action is taken. 
In support of of the EU Commission’s outreach, EuropaBio has established an SME Platform which will shortly issue a paper highlighting problems as well as recommendations on how to tackle the issue of access to finance in the biotech industry. The Platform, made up of SMEs, national biotech associations, venture capitalists and private banks, amongst others, will highlight the concrete financial restraints biotech SMEs are faced with, and also offer suggestions on optimizing EU funding instruments for biotech SMEs.
 “Biotech SMEs are carrying out innovative research and offer products that improve the quality of life, while also providing knowledge-based high quality employment. These are the kinds of jobs that we must protect through the financial crisis, to ensure that Europe remains globally competitive,” said Willy De Greef, Secretary General of EuropaBio. He continued “We strongly support the EU Commission for putting together this campaign to inform SMEs about the tools available to them to weather the crisis.”
Notes to the Editor
(1) The first European SME Week, taking place from 6 to 14 May 2009, is a campaign to promote entrepreneurship across Europe and to inform entrepreneurs about support available for them at European, national and local level. It allows SMEs to discover an array of information, advice, support and ideas to help them develop their activities.
About EuropaBio
EuropaBio is the European Association for Bioindustries, solely and uniquely bringing together bioscience companies from all fields of research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products. It has 68 corporate and 7 associated members, 4 BioRegions and 25 national biotechnology associations representing some 1800 small and medium sized enterprises involved in research.

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