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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Improving the business environment: starting, running and growing a business

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Setting up an SME is just the beginning. If SMEs are to have a significant impact on Europe's economy, they need to grow bigger - take on more employees, and expand their product ranges, markets and turnover. In many cases, the skills and experiences of an entrepreneur are not necessarily sufficient to grow the business to a much larger size. Further stages in the company's development require, amongst other things, new technologies and the know-how to implement them, new staff, with additional skills, and access to new markets. And of course, financial investment is a major requirement for growing a firm, as is often face-to-face advice and support and help in accessing new markets.

Certain groups in society, for example women, people from ethnic minorities and young people, face additional difficulties in trying to set up and run businesses, and special attention is given to helping overcome these.

The Commission is working in close co-operation with the Member States to make the business environment friendlier, both for existing SMEs and for any prospective entrepreneur wishing to start a firm. In many cases, the Member States and the Commission work together in identifying and exchanging good practices.

All the actions supporting SMEs and entrepreneurship have a unique and comprehensive framework which is the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA), which Member States have committed to implement alongside the European Commission.

The latest Commission study on "Business Dynamics": measuring the impact of non-efficient transfer of businesses on job creation and business births in Europe, is now available.

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