Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for sustainable and competitive agriculture, forestry, agri-food and bio-based sect
The potential of Europe’s Oceans, seas and coasts is significant for job and growth creation if the appropriate investments in research and innovation are made. SMEs contribution to the development of the 'Blue Growth Strategy' (COM (2012) 494) can be significant in particular in the fields of marine biotechnology, fisheries, marine and fresh water aquaculture (including production and processing of feed and food). However, one of the most important barriers for the development of innovative maritime economic activities is the lack of access to finance for SMEs to develop high-potential, but high-risk innovative ideas and to bring them close to market. The SME instrument offers financial support to SMEs with an EU dimension to put forward their most innovative ideas in the previously mentioned maritime and aquaculture/fisheries sectors with a particular focus on close-to-market solutions and potential for high growth and internationalisation.