Managing the transition towards a knowledge-based economy is the key challenge for the EU in the framework of Lisbon Strategy adopted in March 2000. Success should ensure a competitive and dynamic economy with more and better jobs and a higher level of social cohesion. Series of supporting initiatives and actions providing financial support, establishment of new forms of business support and facilitation of transnational cooperation in order to mobilize more resources for creation of European Innovation Space and establishment of friendly environment for development of entrepreneurship have been launched.
Small and medium size companies are recognized as a basic driver for development of innovations and improving competitiveness of European economy. European SMEs represent: 99.8% of all European enterprises, 67.1% of private-sector jobs and more than 80% of employment in some industrial sectors such as the manufacture of metal products, construction and furniture.
Innovation is today more crucial than ever if a business is to survive and prosper. Markets are changing faster and there is increased competition from emerging economies such as China and India.SME are the main source of innovations but putting innovative ideas into practice is often much harder for them than for large firms. Small businesses frequently lack the financial resources and the in-house expertise to do research, and it is difficult for them to find a competent business partner to develop their ideas and to access programmes which co-fund research and innovation activities.
In this respect in 2008 EC adopted Small Business Act . It aims to improve the overall policy approach to entrepreneurship, to irreversibly anchor the “Think Small First” principle in policymaking from regulation to public service, and to promote SMEs’ growth by helping them tackle the remaining problems which hamper their development.
The new Europe 2020 strategy put forward seven flagship initiatives in order to continue the overall progress achieved. Among them are "Innovation Union", which should improve framework conditions and access to finance for research and innovation and to accelerate transformation of innovative ideas into products and services that create growth and jobs; The Initiative "An industrial policy for the globalisation era" aims to improve the business environment, notably for SMEs, and to support the development of a strong and sustainable industrial base able to compete globally.
Bulgarian ICT Cluster strongly supports the European policies for development of innovations and entrepreneurship. Boosting development of SME and supporting innovations in the field of ICT in Bulgaria by participation in many European programs, networks and projects.