How joining a cluster provides vital support for EU SMEs

Submitted by Imogen Allan on 13 August 2021

Clusters make up a significant part of the European industrial landscape. Currently, there are around 3000 specialised clusters in Europe accounting for 54 million jobs. 

Clusters are key to boosting collaboration and connecting enterprises, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 

They support innovation and internationalisation, , whilst acting as agents in the digital and green transformation. 

Since 2014, COSME has provided around €51 million in funding for initiatives that promote clusters. The programme aims to make it easier for SMEs to access finance in all phases of their lifecycle – creation, expansion, or business transfer.  

If you are an SME struggling to access value chains, joining a cluster is a way of securing key technical assistance to progress your innovations. We can help you find the right cluster to join via our mapping tool, which gives an overview of cluster actors, industries and regions by category. 

Upcoming support 

The European Commission will continue to support clusters via the SME pillar of the new Single Market Programme, which is attached at the bottom of this page.  

The programme aims to streamline all initiatives under the “Joint Cluster Initiative” and create new business opportunities for SMEs. 

€42 million will be allocated for a first call for proposals that is planned to be launched in the second half of 2021. The call will target to fund up to 30 cluster partnerships, with 75% of the grant being directed to SMEs.  

Key areas of support will be: 

  • Resilience 

  • Green and digital transformation  

In addition, we will continue to offer European clusters the tools needed for collaborating and provide support services via our dedicated platform. 

Find out more about COSME here. 

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