Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), with between 10 to 249 persons employed, are a driver of the European economy, creating jobs and contributing to economic growth.
In 2011, of the 22 million enterprises in the EU28’s non-financial business economy 7% were SMEs, accounting for 38% of persons employed and reating 38% of total turnover. The majority of EU28 enterprises were micro enterprises (93%), accounting for 30% of persons employed and 17% of turnover, while 0.2% were large enterprises with 33% of persons employed and 44% of turnover.
Highest shares of SMEs in Germany, Romania, Luxembourg and Austria
In all Member States in 2011, the vast majority of enterprises in the non-financial business economy were micro enterprises. The share of SMEs was highest in Germany (18% of enterprises), Romania and Luxembourg (both 13%) and Austria (12%), and lowest in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (both 4%). In all Member States, the share of large enterprises was 0.5% or lower.
Highest shares of persons employed by SMEs in the Baltic Member States and Luxembourg
Regarding employment in enterprises in the non-financial business economy, Member States can be grouped depending on which of the three enterprise size classes accounted for the highest share of persons employed in 2011.
In the majority of Member States, SMEs accounted for the highest shares of persons employed with proportions around 50% in Latvia and Lithuania (both 51% of persons employed), Estonia and Luxembourg (both 49%). In six Member States, the highest shares were recorded for micro enterprises, with the highest proportions found in Italy (46%) and Portugal (42%). In two Member States, the United Kingdom (46%) and France (37%), large enterprises recorded the highest share of persons employed.
Highest shares of turnover generated by SMEs in Luxembourg, Latvia and Austria
With regards to turnover, the largest shares generated by SMEs in 2011 were recorded in Luxembourg (60% of total turnover), Latvia (52%) and Austria (49%), while in the United Kingdom (56%), Germany (52%) and Finland (50%) half or more of turnover was generated by large enterprises. For micro enterprises, the share of turnover generated was highest in Estonia (31%), Cyprus (27%) and Italy (25%).