SME Performance Review
The SME Performance Review represents one of the main tools employed by the European Commission to monitor and assess Member States’ performance in implementing the Small Business Act. Launched by the European Commission in 2008, it represents a comprehensive source of information on the performance of SMEs in Europe and uses a wide range of success indicators, focusing most notably on the measures in the SBA Action Plan.
SME's contribution to the EU's prime economic objectives is acknowledged and well documented in both the Lisbon strategy for economic growth and more and better jobs and its successor Europe 2020 strategy. One step further, the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) establishes a comprehensive SME policy framework for the EU and its Member States. In the review of the Small Business Act (SBA) in February 2011 the Commission and the Member States have acknowledged that strong governance is key to a successful implementation of the SBA.
15 October 2012 - The European Commission released the results of the SME Performance Review, which includes the Annual Report on European SMEs and the country fact sheets describing SMEs' progress in all EU Members States. Despite the challenging environment, in 2012 SMEs stood their ground as the backbone of the European economy, and continued to strive for recovery.
Annual Report on European SMEs
The Report on European SMEs is prepared on a yearly basis. It provides an overview of the size, structure and importance of SMEs to the European economy and their contribution to growth and jobs, as emphasised in the Small Business Act and Europe 2020 strategy. Comparisons with important partner countries outside the EU and with the large enterprise sector are included.
The study is available here:
- Annual report: 2012 [3 MB] , 2010-2011 [1019 KB] , 2009 [746 KB] , 2008 [352 KB]
- Database for the Annual report: 2012 [12 MB] 2010-2011 [3 MB] , 2009 [13 MB] , 2008 [7 MB]
SBA fact sheets
The country fact-sheets assess progress in implementation of the Small Business Act at national level, based on a set of indicators and national policy developments grouped according to the SBA's ten policy dimensions. The SBA fact-sheets cover the 27 EU Member States, as well as Albania, Croatia, FYROM, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Norway, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.
Please note that the SBA fact sheets:
- do not constitute a comprehensive assessment of Member States' policies but only one input for it
- should be regarded as a suplement to, and not a substitute for, any other relevant in-depth studies of SME policies either by the European Commission or member-states-based publications.
You can consult also the methodology and indicators used to elaborate SBA fact sheets.
27/03/2012 - Flash Eurobarometer on SMEs, Resource Efficiency and Green Markets
The European Commission published the first Flash Eurobarometer dedicated to SMEs, Resources efficiency and Green Markets analyzing the important role that small and medium sized enterprises play in each of these thematic areas.
According to the report, 37% of EU SMEs have at least one full or part-time green employee. Green jobs are largely created in SMEs as opposed to large firms: In 2012, 1 in 8 employees of small and medium-sized firms had a green job or almost 13% of all SME jobs. In large firms it was only 1 in 33 equivalent to 3% of all large company jobs. Green jobs in SMEs are also estimated to expand dynamically with a rate of 35% in the next 2 years.
The Eurobarometer survey also reveals other sources of untapped potential which could be used by SMEs. For example, less than a quarter of SMEs take advantage of the single market for green products or services. Bureaucracy is considered as one of the obstacles: 20% of SMEs says that it would be easier to do green investments if cross-border administrative and legal procedures were not so complex.
SMEs in green industries are also maturing. Three in five (61%) SMEs selling green products or services have been active in green markets for more than three years compared to 52% in the US. Food and beverages (25%) and electronic and mechanical machinery and equipment (23%) are the most commonly sold green products and services by SMEs in the EU.
The SME Performance Review comprises an Annual Report complemented by SBA fact sheets and a set of studies providing in-depth information on issues that are particularly important to small and medium sized enterprises in Europe.
16/01/2012 - Study on the SMEs' impact on the EU labour market
The European Commission published a study analyzing the important role small and medium sized enterprises play in creating more and better jobs.
According to the analysis, 85% of net new jobs in the EU between 2002 and 2010 were created by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This figure is considerably higher than the 67%-share of SMEs in total employment. During this period, net employment in the EU's business economy rose substantially, by an average of 1.1 million new jobs each year.
With 1% annually, the employment growth for SMEs was higher than for large enterprises with 0.5%. A clear exception is the trade sector, in which employment in SMEs increased by 0.7% annually, compared to 2.2% in large enterprises. This is due to the strong increase of large trade enterprises, in particular in sales, maintenance and repair of motor vehicles.
Within the SME size-class, micro firms (less than 10 employees) are responsible with 58% for the highest proportion of total net employment growth in the business economy.
Secondly, the study has shown that new firms (younger than five years) are responsible for an overwhelming majority of the new jobs. New enterprises operating in business services create more than a quarter (27%) of the new jobs, while the new firms in transport and communication contribute least (6%).
A series of studies complements the SME Performance Review.
Study on EU SMEs and subcontracting
The aim of the study is to form an up-to-date picture of SME subcontracting practices, to gather related data and to identify whether there is room for policy actions specifically targeted at SME subcontractors. The study has been designed to provide EU-wide conclusions, however with special focus on the industries where subcontracting is very popular: automotive, construction and shipbuilding. The geographical coverage of the report includes the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.
In order to access the study documents please follow the links below: