As part of the European Union's strategy to encourage entrepreneurship across the continent, officials recently launched an online resource for small and midsized businesses designed to provide an international network of business leaders, policy experts and other small-business advocates.

The Enterprise Europe Network is an online community of some 600 organizations, including universities, business agencies and research institutes. Small-business owners can access a database of member groups and make contacts for guidance on everything from general advice to locating business partners abroad. Businesses can also access information on new legislation and apply for funding.

By grouping all of these organizations and their resources together, EU officials said they hoped to cut down on red tape and enable closer exchanges.

As many as 99 percent of all commercial enterprises in Europe are considered small or midsized businesses with fewer than 250 employees, officials said.