Tech giants help SMEs get grants

HP, Intel and Microsoft have launched a programme to help small businesses across Europe get their hands on cash from the EU

Microsoft, Intel and HP have formed a union to designed to help SMEs get their hands on European Union grants.

The trio have announced the grouping, known as the EU Grants Advisor Consortium, and will be pushing grant-finding tools and services across all 25 European Union member states over the next three years.

Among the offerings will be consulting services to help raise awareness of grants available to tech and business start-ups, as well as help in applying for the EU cash.

Microsoft's grants advisor programme has already been piloted in Spain and was later rolled out in the Czech Republic, France, Hungary and Poland and will now be extended across the Union.

According to EU figures, European SMEs are responsible for producing 57 percent of the EU's GDP. Günter Verheugen, EC vice-president in charge of enterprise and industry, said the involvement of the private sector is key to driving SMEs' innovation potential.

Microsoft's relations with the European Union have been fractious of late, with Brussels and the Redmond behemoth arguing over how far the conditions of the record-breaking antitrust judgement have been met.