This opinion aims to feed a territorial perspective into the Commision's vision and actions for the start-up and scale-up support in Europe, as well as to the Business Insolvency Proposal (dealing with restructuring, insolvency and second chance).
Thus, this opinion also intends to contribute to implementing the priorities of the CoR as outlined in the resolution on the CoR's priorities for its 6th term of office, which calls for "enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs and promoting the social economy by improving access to finance, inspiring innovation and target infrastructure, and by reducing red tape". The opinion specifically aims to contribute to the policy objective of "improving SME access to finance and supporting businesses throughout their life-cycle" under the "Single Market, Business Environment, Industrial Competitiveness" policy priority of the ECON commission's 2017 work programme.
The thematic events and consultations leading towards the production of the opinion, as well as the opinion itself, extensively contributed to the policy debate regarding the start-up and scale-up support in Europe, especially at local and regional level. Rapporteur Truskolaski was also invited to present the opinion at the 13th Conference of European Regions and Cities in Salzburg.
The opinion strengthened inter-regional cooperation and exchange of good practices, whether within the network of EER regions (February seminar), or in the context of exchanges between regions and cities represented at the CoR (Rapporteur´s visit to the Drenthe province on invitation of CoR alternate member Tjisse Steplstra).
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
welcomes the European Commission's communication on "Europe's next leaders: the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative" as a development and extension of the Small Business Act; at the same time calls on the Commission to update the Small Business Act and to maintain its homogeneity;
welcomes the proposal COM(2016) 723 which aims to reduce the key barriers to the free flow of capital stemming from differences in Member States' restructuring and insolvency frameworks; expresses the concern, however, that the proposal is limited to financial aspects, with employed workers treated as creditors of a company on the same footing as banks or other investors, and that the recovery of a company is presented purely as a financial reorganisation of stakeholders;
encourages the Commission to work towards laying the groundwork for a start-up visa and a catalogue of conditions enabling safe and beneficial use to be made of qualified intellectual and financial capital from third countries that is able to contribute to the development of the EU economy;
underlines that additional measures to strengthen and network actors working to promote entrepreneurship in traditional economic sectors, including the craft sector and the cultural and creative industries, rural and peripheral regions, and peri-urban areas would be highly desirable;
encourages the European Commission to analyse the possibility of supporting local and regional authorities in setting up teams composed of experienced representatives of business, who would help develop entrepreneurship and start-up and scale-up businesses in the area administered by the local or regional authority;
commends the proposal to increase the budget for COSME and, with the proviso that no funds are diverted away from the Connecting Europe Facility or the Horizon 2020 programme, in principle also the proposal to increase the budget for EFSI, which allows for additional financing for SMEs in the start-up and scale-up phases. In particular, it would be useful to promote integration and partnerships between SMEs and start-ups.