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Call: Improving SMEs' access to public procurement

Acronym COSME
Type of Fund Action programme
Description of programme

COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a planned budget of 2.3 bn. €.

Accessing finance

COSME aims to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access finance in all phases of their lifecycle – creation, expansion, or business transfer. Thanks to EU support, businesses have easier access to guarantees, loans and equity capital. EU ‘financial instruments’ are channelled through local financial institutions in EU countries. To find a financial institution in your country, visit the Access to Finance portal.

Opening markets

COSME helps businesses to access markets in the EU and beyond. It funds the Enterprise Europe Network that helps SMEs find business and technology partners, and understand EU legislation; the Your Europe Business portal that provides practical information on doing business within Europe; and the SME Internationalisation Portal for companies who want to develop their activities outside Europe. It also finances a number of IPR (intellectual property rights) SME Helpdesks.

Supporting entrepreneurs

COSME supports entrepreneurs by strengthening entrepreneurship education, mentoring, guidance and other support services. Actions support specific groups who may find it difficult to reach their full potential, such as young people, women and senior entrepreneurs. The programme also aims to help businesses access opportunities offered by digital technologies.

Improving business conditions

COSME aims to reduce the administrative and regulatory burden on SMEs by creating a business-friendly environment. COSME also supports businesses to be competitive by encouraging them to adopt new business models and innovative practices. This complements actions in areas with high growth potential such as the tourism sector.  

Link Link to Programme
Improving SMEs' access to public procurement
Description of call
"Improving SMEs' access to public procurement"

The general objective of this call for proposals is to contribute to improving SMEs participation in tenders, especially across borders, through actions of intermediate organisations supporting SME's participations in public procurement.

As the needs of SMEs vary from both country to country and sector to sector, organisations submitting proposals must tailor their services to their clients' needs. However, each proposal has to have a cross-border dimension, covering at least the countries represented in the consortium.

The action must cover several types of activities, such as:

  1. Exchange of information on procurement between Member States (tender alerts and guides on country specific elements on public procurement)
  2. Training and advisory services to SMEs (e.g. on the changes introduced by the new Directives, use of e-procurement systems, developing a proposal, etc.)
  3. Organising matchmaking events
  4. Coaching/mentoring on bidding in other Member States
  5. Organising business-to-procurers events
  6. Coaching/mentoring on joint bids
  7. Mentoring activities between large companies and SMEs, etc.

The expected results include the following:

  • Intermediate organisations offering more and better support to SMEs in public procurement, especially cross-border procurement
  • Better informed and prepared SMEs to participate in public procurement
  • More SMEs participating in public procurement, especially cross-border procurement
  • Materials presenting the specificities of the public procurement legislation in the different Member States
  • Better informed procurers on the specificities of SMEs and on the technologies available in the market
  • SME-formed consortia to participate in calls for tender
Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Trade, Capacity Building
Funding area EU Member States
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Albania / Shqipëria
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia / поранешна југословенска Република Македонија
Iceland / Ísland
Montenegro / Crna Gora/Црна Гора
Serbia / Сpбија
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Eligible applicants Association, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, Public Services
Applicant details

Applicants must be legal entities forming a consortium. The entities participating in the consortia must be organisations having a core activity in business support and/or the promotion of SME participation in public procurement. 
This may include:

  • Chambers of commerce and industry or similar bodies; 
  • Business support organisations, start-up centres and incubators; 
  • Business associations and business support networks; 
  • Public and private entities offering business support services; 
  • Public authorities active in supporting SME participation in public procurement. 

Affiliated entities, i.e. legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, who are neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation, shall take part in the action as applicants in order to declare eligible costs.

Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Applicants must be legal entities forming a consortium. This call aims at selecting consortia composed of minimum 3 legal entities from 3 Member States and countries participating in the COSME programme under Article 6 of the COSME Regulation.

Information regarding 3rd countries' participation in COSME is available on the DG GROW website.

The entities participating in the consortia must be organisations having a core activity in business support and/or the promotion of SME participation in public procurement. 

Recurring Call unknown
Project duration max 18 months
Type of Funding Grant
Financial details
The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects is estimated at 800 000 €.
It is estimated that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of 250 000 € would allow the objectives of this call for proposals to be addressed appropriately.
Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
EASME expects to fund 4 proposals.
The grant is limited to a maximum reimbursement rate of 75% of eligible costs.
Submission Applicants are requested to go to and follow the procedure for submitting an application.
Contact Details

The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) manages COSME on behalf of the European Commission.

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