Brussels, 04 May 2005
The European Commission has given its approval to a German plan to support the users of technology centres and incubators with state aid.
The German government wishes to set aside 120 million euro per year for newly created or technology-oriented small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that use these centres.
When the plan was first announced, the European Commission expressed doubts as to whether it was compatible with the single market and EU state aid rules. Germany then amended its notification so that it stated clearly that all aid would be passed through to the enterprises using the services of the centres, and would not be appropriated by the owners of technology centres and incubators.
'Incubators and technology centres help young entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas and to survive the first critical years on the market. I am happy to approve such aid which promotes innovation,' said EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes on 3 May.
Under the scheme, the costs of office rental, consultancy services, research accommodation, networking with other companies, and cooperation with universities and research institutes - all services provided by technology and incubation centres - will be met by the government.