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The aim is to strengthen the “innovation capacity” of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe and their contribution to the development of new technology based products and markets. The programme will help them outsource research, increase their research efforts, extend their networks, better exploit research results and acquire technological knowhow, bridging the gap between research and innovation.

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SMEs represents 99% of all enterprises in Europe; they contribute more than two thirds of European GDP and provide 75 million jobs in the private sector. They are therefore key to the implementation of the renewed Lisbon strategy for economic growth and employment.

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The European Commission in its Recommendation 2003/361/EC of May 6, 2003 established the following criteria, which enterprises have to fulfill to be considered as SMEs.

Enterprise category




Balance sheet total


< 250

≤ € 50 million

≤ € 43 million


< 50

≤ € 10 million

≤ € 10 million


< 10

≤ € 2 million

≤ € 2 million

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