Connecting SMEs for a green economy

"Maximising the capital market opportunity for SMEs and start-ups" and the role of GreenEcoNet

Roberto RINALDI's picture

BRUSSELS (BE) - On May 26th 2015, Barclays and ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) organised in collaboration with UEAPME and EGIAN an evening debate on how to maximise the capital market opportunity for SMEs and start-ups. The roundtable, moderated by Peter UJVARI (member of ACCA Global Forum on Corporate Reporting) included Niall BOHAN (DG FISMA), Susannah Haan (EuropeanIssuers), Karen Wilson (Senior Fellow at Bruegel), Rebecca McNeil (Barclays), Anthony Carey (EGIAN), Gerhard Huemer (UEAPME).

Following the closure of the public consultation in preparation of the European Commission Green Paper towards a Capital Markets Union, the panel discussed issues related to helping startups and SMEs raising finance as large companies currently do. In particular, the role of securitisation, standardisation of SME lending information, standardisation of accounting rules for SMEs, changes to be made to the Prospectus Directive, the significance of industry-led initiative on Private Placement, and how to measure success.

The debate was closed with final remarks by Milena ANGELOVA and Dimitris DIMITRIADIS  (EESC rapporteurs) according to who, EESC fully support the preparation of EC Green Paper and suggest the following measures that should be taken in timely manner:

  • Development of secondary markets;

  • Make the market more attractive for SMEs;

  • Update the definition of micro-businesses to merge the four currently in use;

  • Be aware of the fact that some small companies cannot grow in specific countries due to disadvantageous market conditions (e.g. lack of infrastructures) still existing;

  • The need to update art. 14 of the directive Prospectus;

  • Decrease costs for cross-borders transactions;

  • Address more successfully the currently existing barriers in debt-based financing for SMEs, before the development of new opportunities, such as the capital market. This approach contributes in creating the momentum to implement more difficult measures in the future .

  • The publication of a document providing real and honest quantitative description of the results achieved so far at the European level in supporting the finance for SMEs and start-ups.

During the debate, the panel was questioned about the role that a platform such as GreenEcoNet could play in maximising the financing opportunities for green SMEs. They suggest that a platform such as GreenEcoNet would have a supportive role in providing information about financial opportunities existing for those SMEs wanting to operate in a green economy. For example, it would auspicable to see a “top 10 tips for financing green SMEs”, similar to what the panelist Karen Wilson published on the blog. This list could provide information on where to turn to if a green SME is looking for mentoring or training about financing, and a basic knowledge education should also be included, to address doubts about who to contact at each stage of the financing process. The best result would be achieved if GreenEcoNet offered companies information on the different financial systems available for green SMEs, that will be then able to select the best option applicable to their business. This might be in the form of a customised dashboard tailored to the SMEs.