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The European Commission is planning to launch an on-line initiative aimed at improving support for SMEs by the end of the year.

The Commission on Wednesday adopted a communication containing the B2Europe project, which proposes establishing a Web site portal that would offer advice and assistance to business.

The information will be provided by a range of major European business support networks such as Euro Info Centres and Innovation Relay Centres, with the latter a group that helps companies adopt pioneering technology.

According to the Commission, such networks are already a vital source of support for European SMEs, but B2Europe will deliver information quicker and more efficiently than the present system.

"The B2Europe initiative will bring more coherence and public clarity to the services provided by business support networks across Europe. The initiative will enable SMEs to find out quickly which network to approach with their particular query and to obtain the most appropriate service," said Enterprise Commissioner, Erkki Liikanen, in a statement.

The Commission added that the portal, which is expected to be in place by the end of this year, will allow companies to access information about all community business support networks via one address, as well as a query reference and tracking system aimed at directing firms to the appropriate network.

The initiative is also open to other networks and aims to develop closer links with networks such as the National Contact Points for the Research and Development Framework Programme (NCP) and the European Employment Services Network (EURES) for Europe-wide recruitment of labour. © ENN

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