Fabian Demicoli

Malta Enterprise Becomes Contact Point For CIP

 Malta Enterprise has been appointed as the National Contact Point for the European Commission's Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP), which aims to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises and particularly small and medium-sized enterprises.

With a budget of €3.3 billion and running from 2007 to 2013, the CIP supports innovation activities, provides better access to finance and delivers business support services in the regions participating in the programme. 

Additionally, it encourages a better take-up and use of ICT, helps to develop the information society, and also promotes the increased use of renewable energies and energy efficiency.

Previously under MIMCOL's responsibility, the CIP's National Contact Point in Malta has now moved to Malta Enterprise, enabling the Corporation to offer an even more comprehensive range of support, services and schemes to facilitate the successful operation and growth of local enterprises.

Amongst others, Malta Enterprise already runs the local offices for other European programmes or networks, such as the Enterprise Europe Network, EUREKA and Eurostars, besides adminis

tering a number of schemes for businesses and industries co-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for which a Fourth Call is currently open.

The CIP's National Contact Point's main role is to promote and disseminate information on CIP and its funding opportunities, encourage and guide the participation of Maltese entities under specific calls for proposals and other networking initiatives, and offering partner search support.

More than €3.1 million are estimated to have been budgeted for co-funding for Maltese stakeholders – including public bodies, businesses and NGOs – through the previous calls of the CIP's three operational programmes, namely the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP), the Information Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT-PSP), and the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme (IEE).

The EIP focuses on improving access to finance for SMEs through specific instruments, and provides business services through the Enterprise Europe Network. It supports innovation

policy and transnational networking; eco-innovation pilot and market replication projects; and supports policymaking through contracts and grants for analytical work and awareness-raising.

The ICT-PSP provides funding for pilot actions by both public and private organisations for ICT-based services in various areas such as health, digital libraries, improved public services,

energy efficiency and multilingual web evolution. It also supports networking actions and monitoring of the Information Society.

The IEE supports projects and best practices in intelligent energy, energy efficiency and best use of renewable energy

sources. The annual calls for the three operational programmes are currently open.

CIP will eventually give way to COSME, a new programme for the competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs which will run from 2014 to 2020 with a foreseen budget of €2.5 billion. The new programme will take forward and add to the initiatives under the Entrepreneurship and Innovation segment of CIP, facilitating access to finance, encouraging entrepreneurship and competitiveness, and supporting SME internationalisation.

Further information may be obtained from www.cipmalta.com or by contacting Malta Enterprise on 2542 0000.

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