Business centres

You may have heard of business centres, to which you can turn if you want to start up a company, find office space or gain assistance for the launch of your business.

In fact there are various types of centre, including enterprise centres, business incubators, technology poles or centres and European Business and Innovation Centres. But what are they exactly?

A business centre is a building comprising offices and/or workshops that are temporarily placed at the disposal of several fledgling companies.

In addition to occupying the same premises, the new companies have access to shared services and equipment, including telephones, a typing pool, internal postal service, photocopier, telex, computers, and so on.

Most centres also provide training services and assistance (accounting and bookkeeping, marketing, product development and such like).

Business centres may be set up as commercial companies or non-profit associations.

European Business and Innovation Centres (EC-BIC)

EC-BICs (sometimes just called BICs) are centres that provide support for innovative entrepreneurs and evolving SMEs. Their mission is to contribute towards the creation of new generations of innovative SMEs and the development and modernisation of existing companies in a territorial industrial development context. Centres of this kind are set up by public-private partners, expressing a consensus between the actors shaping regional and local development and are recognised by the European Commission’s award of an EC BIC quality label. EC-BICs serve as an interface between the needs of SMEs and offers of specialised services.

Thanks to their global approach, they offer a range of integrated services to companies and authorities within a particular area: 

Services offered to companies:

  • the accurate assessment of needs, guidance in drawing up business plans, orientation towards specialist services and supervision of project implementation;
  • access to financing and especially to venture capital;
  • organisation of various forms of inter-company cooperation and internationalisation;
  • accommodation of new companies in suitably equipped buildings where shared services are available.

Services offered to authorities within a particular area:

  • assessment of companies’ needs, support in the application of public measures designed to help SMEs, promotion of the corporate outlook and of a culture of innovation.