What is the COSME programme?


COSME is a European Union programme that aims to promote the activity of European companies. Unlike other programmes, COSME is dedicated specifically to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for 85% of all new jobs in the European economy.


What distinguishes COSME from other European programmes?


If other programmes are primarily oriented to the associative and institutional dimension, the COSME programme is aimed at entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as all business support organisations.

Another important difference is the focus on financial support, which is greater than in other programmes.



Who is the COSME programme dedicated to?


All entities (physical and legal) active in the business sector may be covered by the COSME programme. We are therefore talking about entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups, and organisations supporting public and private companies, that are active at local, regional, and national levels.


The programme also distinguishes between two levels of potential beneficiaries: institutions supporting enterprises and the enterprises themselves. Financial support instruments, such as access to loans and equity capital, are given to the benefit of companies but only through the intermediation of the institutions present at the local level. These institutions must be accredited through a specific call for proposals, which is part of the programme.


Participation requirements


Calls under the COSME programme are open to entities from the EU area, the EFTA/EEA area and, in certain cases, the candidate countries, potential candidate countries, and the EU neighbourhood area.


To become partner of the program, entities must demonstrate that they possess an entrepreneurial vision that brings added value to the European economy, beyond simply complying with the financial plan.


Beyond funding


Financing given to the partners is only a part of the company aid provided by COSME.


Here are some of the most interesting initiatives:

  • Clusterxchange is a mobility program for enterprises/startups of a given cluster. The aim is to acquire new skills, improve the proposed services, and create new international avenues.
  • Business consulting and training programs to support business expansion in Asian markets.
  • Enterprise Europe Network is a network of 3000 experts who work to create new networking opportunities and find international partners, with the aim of transforming innovative ideas into commercial successes.
  • Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) is an exchange programme dedicated to aspiring European entrepreneurs: it offers training courses, access to new markets, and potential collaborations with international partners (here you can learn about my experience in the EYE programme).
  • International IP Helpdesks is a specialized assistance desk system in the field of intellectual property for the territories of China, Latin America, India, and Southeast Asia.
  • Wegate is a one-stop shop dedicated to female entrepreneurship: it brings together female entrepreneurs, mentors, policy makers, and the main stakeholders and supporters (here you can find out about my experience with Wegate).
  • European Cluster collaboration platform (ECCP) is a platform that uses a mapping tool to help businesses and startups find the right cluster to join.


Do you want more information about the COSME Programme? 

Sara Canella

Sara Canella

EU Funding & Marketing

I am a freelance consultant specialized in applying for and managing European funding for companies and start-ups active in the field of research and innovation.

My work includes the creation of business plans, development plans and marketing plans aiming at applying for European calls for proposals.

My objective is to provide companies active in innovation with some concrete tools to start their projects and with my know-how to convert them into real business opportunities.