Strengthening SMEs competitive ability

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a great significance for innovations and jobs in NRW. However, their potential for growth and innovation is not always adequately utilized. This is why the OP ERDF NRW supports already existing companies in their effort to realize their full potential for the future. 

Supporting start-ups is part of the “training policy” for the middle class. However, only about 10 percent of start-ups grow and manage to create new jobs on a larger scale. This is set to change with the help of the OP ERDF NRW.

There will be new impulses for high-tech start-ups and scientific spin-off companies in particular, but also for strongly growing start-ups in the craft sector. What matters most is the support of entrepreneurial spirit and fresh ideas for founding new businesses. 

Increasing the resource efficiency of SMEs also increases their potential for growth - consequently, this is where new funding opportunities will be available in the period between 2014-2020.

It is becoming apparent that many SMEs lack qualified employees. This factor has turned into a development constraint in some regions and sectors. The call for projects termed “Fachkräfte.NRW” (“Skilled Employees.NRW”) is aimed at testing new ways and means to counteract the shortage of skilled labor. Moreover, education and training institutions need to be modernised and updated to the latest standards in order to provide ideal conditions for trainees. 

Further focal points are the expansion of broadband supply for SMEs, as well as the implementation of innovative touristic infrastructures and services in order to boost the economic power of SMEs, both locally and regionally. 

In this, the OP ERDF NRW is in line with the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy: Strengthening young SMEs and their potential for innovation and growth. 

About 174 million euros from ERDF are available for priority axis 2. This figure will be doubled through state funding and contributions by project participants.