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Weird alliance helps SMEs get EC moolah

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Microsoft, Intel and HP have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help Europe's smaller businesses get access to European Community grants for investing in technology.

The EU Grants Advisor Consortium will have a dedicated website and offer consulting advice on technology, employment and business grants. It will even help small businesses fill in the forms to apply for such grants.

There are 20 million small and medium businesses across Europe employing 140 million people. This initiative aims to improves the percentage of these businesses which are aware of EC grants - 55 per cent do not know there are such grants. Only four per cent of SMEs apply for grants and of those only a quarter are successful and win funding.

The programme was piloted in Spain and more recently in the Czech Republic and France.

For more information there's a Q&A on Microsoft's site here. ®

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