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  • Jobs

Boosting small businesses and creating new jobs

The EU promotes the many small firms that are driving growth in the economy and in employment.

Between 2002 and 2008, smaller firms created 9.4 million jobs in the EU. This is more than all the big companies combined. They have the potential to fuel the EU’s rapid recovery, both in terms of economic growth and employment.

But that potential needs to be nurtured if they are to deliver. The economic downturn showed that even the best small firms and brightest entrepreneurs can be vulnerable to everything from late payments to lack of access to loans or training. So the EU has taken decisive action to help them develop.

A new EU rule requires public authorities to pay up within 30 days when they buy goods and services. This makes a real improvement in the cash flow that keeps small businesses alive.

A new European-level exchange scheme, modelled on the Erasmus programme that has been so successful for students, now gives young entrepreneurs the chance to acquire management skills from working with experienced entrepreneurs.

And the EU has set aside €100 million in start-up loans for redundant workers who want to start their own business, helping to regenerate employment in areas where job losses have been heavy.