The DIFASS project facilitated access to finance for SMEs by exchanging innovative business support measures. 26 partners from various regions in the European Union committed themselves to work together for three years in the project from 2012-2014. They have teamed up to exchange experiences and to support the transnational transfer of selected examples of good practice towards other regions. These good practices are innovative business support measures implemented or funded by
(semi-) public bodies.
The focus was on the development and implementation of non-grant based financial support instruments, such as revolving funds, transregional funds and venture capital funds. DIFASS has resulted in 43 good practices. They have been captured per topic in 8 brochures and a Good Practice Guide with descriptions of the features of every good practice. The brochures and guide are available on this website as downloadable PDFs.
All participating regions developed a Policy Implementation Plan based on exchange of experience on good practice from other regions in Europe to improve own policies tackling access to finance for SMEs, innovation, internationalisation and sustainable growth.
The DIFASS project is supported by the INTERREG IVC Programme. The overall objective of the programme is to improve the effectiveness of regional policies and instruments. INTERREG IVC provides funding for interregional cooperation across Europe. It helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million is available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions. Funding is targeted to meet three objectives set down by the European Commission (EC): Convergence, Regional Competitiveness and European Territorial Co-operation. ERDF has helped a wide variety of projects - from large scale public works to small local initiatives. All are designed to benefit the regional or local economy. Grant goes to projects that would not have taken place without ERDF.