Calling all eco-innovative SMEs


The 2008 call for proposals under the EUís Competitiveness and Innovation Programme for eco-innovation will be published on 21 April - giving priority to projects focusing on materials recycling, buildings, the food and drink industries, greener businesses and smarter purchasing.

Under this programme, projects can secure co-financing for up to 60% of their costs from a total budget of €28 million allocated for the programme for this year.

The prime targets for funding are companies that have developed a proven environmental product or service, but have been unable to achieve market breakthrough. The programme is designed to overcome barriers to further market penetration and to turn these products and processes into Europe's future eco-innovation successes.

Applications from SMEs are particularly encouraged. Priority areas for projects relevant to the ECAP (the Environmental Compliance Assistance Programme for SMEs) programme include those covering co-operation and knowledge-sharing between enterprises in the application of EMAS (the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme); quality assurance systems that strengthen eco-compliance - such as eco-design, eco-labelling and life-cycle approaches and highly transferable practices, processes and techniques that enhance the efficiency and sustainability of SMEs.

An information day will be held on 8 May in Brussels to present the eco-innovation call and the application process. The 2008 call for proposals will remain open until 11 September.

For more information -