Small firms depend on entrepreneurs - the individuals who have the ideas and are willing to take the risks necessary to get a firm off the ground. Europe needs more entrepreneurs and the Commission is looking at ways in which potential entrepreneurs may be encouraged to set up firms.
First, there are cultural factors which discourage too many people from starting a business. We need to develop a more entrepreneurial culture, starting with young people and from school education. Also there is too often a stigma attached to failure. Second, the administrative requirements - are often a major factor in putting entrepreneurs off. Third, entrepreneurs need to find it easier to attract investors.
The Commission is working with Member States, in particular by facilitating the sharing of experiences and fostering entrepreneurial attitudes. In addition, campaigns such as the European SME Week have been launched to promote the image of entrepreneurship.
Certain groups in society such as people from ethnic minorities face additional difficulties in trying to set up businesses, and special attention is given to helping overcome these. Other forms of enterprise, such as the co-operative, can play a significant role in economic growth, while firms such as craft enterprises can face specific problems. The Commission ensures that appropriate measures are taken to avoid such enterprises facing disadvantages in Europe's marketplace.
All the actions supporting SMEs and entrepreneurship have a unique and comprehensive framework, the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) which Member States have committed to implement alongside the Commission.