Structural business statistics at regional level

Data extracted in March 2016. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: September 2017.

Maps can be explored interactively using Eurostat’s Statistical Atlas (see user manual).

This article is part of a set of statistical articles based on the Eurostat regional yearbook publication. Presented according to the activity classification, NACE, a set of structural business statistics (SBS) are used to describe the structure and specialisation of the businesses economy across the regions of the European Union (EU). The second half of the article provides information relating to regional business demography statistics, detailing enterprise birth, survival and death rates.

Map 1: Employment share of the industrial economy (NACE Sections B–E), by NUTS 2 regions, 2013 (1)
(% of the non-financial business economy)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2) and (sbs_na_sca_r2)
Map 2: Employment share of the non-financial services economy (NACE Sections G–N and Division 95, excluding Section K), by NUTS 2 regions, 2013 (1)
(% of the non-financial business economy)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2) and (sbs_na_sca_r2)
Table 1: Average share of non-financial business economy employment and most specialised regions by activity and by NUTS 2 regions (1)
(% of non-financial business economy employment)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)
Figure 1: Regional specialisation within the EU-28 and Norway's manufacturing economy (NACE Section C), by NUTS 2 regions, 2013 (1)
(% share of regional non-financial business economy employment)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2) and (sbs_na_sca_r2)
Figure 2: Regional specialisation within the EU-28 and Norway's non-financial services economy (NACE Sections G–N and Division 95, excluding Section K), by NUTS 2 regions, 2013 (1)
(% share of regional non-financial business economy employment)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2) and (sbs_na_sca_r2)
Map 3: Enterprise birth rate in the business economy, by NUTS 2 regions, 2013 (1)
(% of active enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (bd_size_r3) and (bd_9bd_sz_cl_r2)
Map 4: Enterprise death rate in the business economy, by NUTS 2 regions, 2012 (1)
(% of active enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (bd_size_r3) and (bd_9bd_sz_cl_r2)
Map 5: Three-year survival rate for enterprises in the business economy, by NUTS 2 regions, 2013 (1)
(% of enterprises newly-born in 2010 having survived to 2013)
Source: Eurostat (bd_size_r3) and (bd_9bd_sz_cl_r2)

Main statistical findings

Patterns of employment specialisation in the non-financial business economy

Structural business statistics (SBS) cover industry, construction and non-financial services, collectively referred to as the non-financial business economy, defined here as NACE Sections B to J and L to N and NACE Division 95.

SBS can be analysed at a very detailed sectoral level (several hundred economic activities), by enterprise size class and, as here, by region. These statistics provide information on regional business economies, with harmonised data for the number of local units and persons employed, as well as the monetary value of wages and salaries, and investment.

The analysis of regional SBS presented here is exclusively based upon the number of persons employed. While regional SBS are not collected for value added, this information is available from regional accounts (although the level of activity detail is not as fine).

Almost 133 million persons were employed in the EU-28’s non-financial business economy

According to estimates made using national SBS, there were 22.6 million enterprises active in the EU-28’s non-financial business economy in 2013. Together, they generated EUR 6 235 billion of gross value added and employed some 133 million persons.

While some activities — such as retail trade — ubiquitously appear across all regions, many others exhibit a considerable variation in their level of concentration, often with only a few regions having a particularly high degree of specialisation. The share of a specific NACE activity within the non-financial business economy gives an idea as to which regions are the most or least specialised, regardless of whether the region or the activity considered are large or small. These characteristics are presented for the industrial economy (NACE Sections B to E) and for non-financial services (NACE Sections G to J and L to N and Division 95) in Maps 1 and 2.

The reasons for such specialisation are varied and include: the availability of natural resources (for example, for mining and quarrying or forest-based manufacturing); access to skilled employees (for example, for scientific research and development); the level of production costs (for example, wages and other labour costs, or the cost and availability of other inputs); adequate provision of infrastructure (for example, transport or telecommunications); climatic and topographic conditions (particularly relevant in relation to tourism activities); proximity or access to markets; and legislative constraints. All of these may impact upon the considerable disparities that exist between EU regions as regards the importance of different activities within their respective business economies.

Industry accounted for almost one quarter of the EU’s non-financial business economy workforce

Across the whole of the EU-28, industrial activities (NACE Sections B to E) accounted for just less than one quarter (24.9 %) of the total workforce in the non-financial business economy in 2012. Map 1 shows that there was a fairly clear east–west split in the relative contribution of industrial activities to non-financial business economy employment in 2013, with industry generally recording a higher share of employment in the easternmost regions.

SPOTLIGHT ON THE REGIONS

Severovýchod, Czech Republic

Kvasiny from air K1-2.jpg

The industrial workforce accounted for 48.2 % of non-financial business economy employment in the Czech region of Severovýchod in 2013, with the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers its largest industrial employer — this was the highest share for the industrial workforce among any of the NUTS level 2 regions in the EU.

©: Karelj

There were 47 NUTS level 2 regions where the industrial workforce accounted for at least 35 % of those working in the non-financial business economy in 2013 (as shown by the darkest shade of blue in Map 1). The weight of the industrial economy in the non-financial business economy workforce was most concentrated in a band of regions that ran from Bulgaria up through Romania into Hungary before splitting to the south into Slovenia and northern Italy, and to the north into Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland. In addition there were two regions each in Germany (NUTS level 1) and Austria and single regions in Spain, Finland and Sweden.

The relatively high degree of specialisation for industrial activities in eastern regions of the EU may reflect, to some degree, relatively low labour costs, outsourcing and foreign direct investment strategies, as well as natural resource endowments. By contrast, the industrial sectors of the German and Austrian economies are often characterised by engineering, producing products that are particularly successful in export markets (for example, machinery and electrical equipment).

Looking in more detail at the NUTS level 2 regions, the industrial workforce accounted for 48.2 % of non-financial business economy employment in the Czech region of Severovýchod in 2013, with the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers its largest industrial employer. The industrial economy also accounted for more than 45 % of the non-financial business economy workforce in the Romanian region of Vest, another Czech region (Strední Morava), two Bulgarian regions (Severozapaden and Severen tsentralen) and the Hungarian region of Közép-Dunántúl. Outside of these eastern regions of the EU, the central Italian region of Marche (which was the most specialised region in the EU for the manufacture of leather and leather products) recorded the highest share of its non-financial business economy workforce employed within the industrial economy, 39.3 %.

The EU regions with the lowest shares of employment in industrial activities are shown in the lightest shade of blue in Map 1: in these regions industrial activities accounted for less than 15 % of non-financial business economy employment. Among these 50 regions were the capital city regions of half of the EU Member States, and the Norwegian capital city region also recorded a share below 15 %. The lowest share of all was 1.6 % in Inner London - West.

Almost two out of three persons working in the EU’s non-financial business economy were employed in non-financial services

Non-financial services accounted for almost two thirds (65.6 %) of the EU-28’s non-financial business economy workforce in 2012. Map 2 shows that there was a high propensity for the most service-oriented workforces to be located in major urban areas and especially in capital city regions. Aside from these, the other pattern apparent when looking at Map 2 is the relatively high share of the workforce employed within non-financial services in several regions that are characterised as tourist destinations.

Relative importance of the non-financial services workforce was highest in Inner London

In the capital city regions of the United Kingdom — the western and eastern regions of Inner London — non-financial services accounted for 95.4 % and 92.2 % of the non-financial business economy workforce. Inner London - West was the most specialised region in the EU for multimedia publishing, real estate activities, legal and accounting activities, activities of head offices, and advertising and market research. Note the service orientation of the two Inner London regions would be even greater if financial services were included, given its position as one of the world’s leading financial centres.

There were 15 other capital city regions where the share of non-financial services employment was at least 75 % (as shown by the darkest shade of blue in Map 2). Their shares rose to at least 80 % in the following capital city regions: Southern and Eastern (Ireland; 2012 data), the Área Metropolitana de Lisboa (Portugal), the Comunidad de Madrid (Spain), and Noord-Holland (the Netherlands), as well as Oslo og Akershus (Norway); note that the data for the Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (Belgium), Praha (the Czech Republic), Berlin (Germany; NUTS level 1) and Wien (Austria) are confidential and as such their precise values may not be disclosed, although it is clear that non-financial services accounted for at least three quarters of the non-financial business economy workforce in each of these regions. The other regions where the employment share of non-financial services reached 80 % or more were the Dutch regions of Utrecht and Flevoland, six British regions in the south-east of England including the three Outer London regions, and the tourist destinations of Ionia Nisia and Notio Aigaio (Greece) and the Canarias (Spain).

In 2013, non-financial services accounted for less than half of non-financial business economy employment in 22 regions across Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland, with the lowest shares (below 44 %) in the Czech regions of Severozápad, Strední Morava and Severovýchod.

Regional employment specialisation and concentration measures

Table 1 presents a more detailed activity analysis, at the level of NACE divisions. The table indicates the average shares (median and mean) for each NACE division in the non-financial business economy workforce, calculated across all level 2 regions of the EU (excluding Ireland and Croatia) and Norway. The final two columns of the table show which region was the most specialised, in terms of employment shares in the non-financial business economy total; note that some of the data are confidential although the names of the regions with the highest shares (not their values) are presented.

Śląskie and North Eastern Scotland were specialised in the extraction of fossil fuels

Mining and quarrying activities of energy-producing and metallic minerals tend to be very concentrated as a consequence of the geographical location of deposits, and therefore only a small number of regions were highly specialised in these activities; these characteristics mean that a handful of regions can account for a relatively high share of sectoral employment in some of these activities. The most notable examples include the mining of coal and lignite in Śląskie (Poland) or the extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas off the coast of North Eastern Scotland (the United Kingdom).

Nordic and Baltic regions had a high degree of specialisation in forest-based industries

Manufacturing activities that involve the primary processing stages of agricultural, fishing or forestry products tend to be concentrated in areas close to the source of their raw materials. The region most specialised in food manufacturing (NACE Division 10) was rural and coastal Bretagne (in the north west of France). Heavily forested and mountainous Nordic and Baltic regions were among the most specialised for the manufacture of wood and wood products (NACE Division 16) and for the related manufacturing of paper and paper products (NACE Division 17).

Production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals specialised in Germany and Belgium

Several German and Belgian regions were relatively specialised in the production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, with Rheinhessen-Pfalz the most specialised region for chemicals manufacturing and the Prov. Brabant Wallon for pharmaceutical products and preparations. The highest regional specialisation for the manufacture of rubber and plastics was in the Auvergne region of France, with these activities centred on Clermont-Ferrand.

Island and capital city regions were some of the most specialised regions for transport services

Transport services are influenced by location, with water transport (NACE Division 50) naturally being important for coastal regions and islands, while air transport (NACE Division 51) is generally important in those regions which are close to major cities, as well as some island regions (especially those focused on tourism). The small island region of Åland (Finland) is a centre for ferry services between Sweden and Finland and other Baltic Sea traffic — it was very highly specialised in water transport, which accounted for 31.8 % of the total number of persons employed in this region’s non-financial business economy in 2013. Outer London - West and North West was the region most specialised in air transport — it includes London Heathrow airport.

Traditional holiday destinations are some of the most specialised regions for accommodation services

Regions traditionally associated with tourism, for example, many regions in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, were among the most specialised in accommodation services (NACE Division 55) and food and beverage service activities (NACE Division 56). The highest shares of non-financial business economy employment from accommodation services and food and beverage service activities were recorded in the Greek region of Ionia Nisia (which includes, among others, the islands of Corfu, Zakynthos and Kefalonia).

Capital city regions often specialised in information and communication services, as well as professional, scientific, technical, administrative and support service activities

Capital city regions were the most specialised regions in many of the information and communication and business services. As already noted, Inner London - West was the most specialised region in the EU for multimedia publishing, real estate activities, legal and accounting activities, activities of head offices, and advertising and market research. Among the remaining information and communication and business services divisions, the most specialised regions included the capital city regions of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Austria, Portugal and Romania.

Figures 1 and 2 provide an overview of the relative importance of economic activities at the NACE division level in the non-financial business economy workforce: Figure 1 concerns manufacturing divisions and Figure 2 non-financial services divisions. For each activity, the horizontal lines indicate the spread from the region with the lowest share of that activity in its non-financial business economy workforce to the region with the highest share; the region with the highest share is also named in the figure. The extremes of the highest and lowest shares can be influenced by a single region, and the coloured box shows a narrower range, defined to cover half of the regions (the inter-quartile range), with one quarter of all regions having a higher employment share in that activity and one quarter of the regions having a lower share. The central bar within the coloured box shows the value of the median region. The activities are ranked from the largest employer — food products manufacturing in Figure 1 and retail trade in Figure 2 — to the smallest — tobacco products manufacturing and air transport.

One of the particularities of Figure 1 is that there are several manufacturing divisions where the value for the most specialised region is many times greater than the median value, whereas for the non-financial services divisions this is less common, aside from the specific cases of water and air transport.

Looking more closely at Figure 1, a few activities can be identified where not only the range from largest to smallest is broad, but so is the interquartile range (the width of the box in the figure), for example, the manufacture of: motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers; machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified; rubber and plastic products; wearing apparel; food products; basic metals food products. This reflects a relatively wide range of shares across a large number of regions, indicating activities where the level of specialisation is quite diverse. By contrast, activities where the interquartile range is narrow — such as printing and reproduction of recorded media — have a relatively similar share of non-financial business economy employment across a large number of regions, indicating that many regions are not particularly specialised or non-specialised in these activities.

The employment spread for large, basic services, like motor, wholesale and retail trade, which tend to serve more local clients, was relatively narrow, both in terms of the ratio between the maximum and median values and in terms of the breadth of the inter-quartile range: for these three trade activities, the ratio between the third quartile (the right-hand end of the box) and the first quartile (the left-hand end of the box), was 1.4 : 1, narrower than for any of the other non-financial services. The two divisions of accommodation and food and beverage services also displayed relatively little regional specialisation.

For transport and storage activities, the extent of specialisation varies greatly between the activities. A relatively small number of regions tend to be specialised in water and air transport activities, resulting in some particularly high ratios between the maximum value and the median and also between the third and first quartiles (the interquartile range). By contrast, there is much less regional specialisation in land transport (and transport via pipelines). Equally, within professional, scientific and technical service activities there was greater regional specialisation in scientific research and development activities than in architectural and engineering activities, technical testing and analysis or in legal and accounting activities.

Enterprise demography: births, deaths and survival

Business demography statistics describe the characteristics of enterprises within the business population: they cover, among others, the birth of new enterprises, the growth and survival of existing enterprises (with particular interest centred on their employment impact), and enterprise deaths. These indicators can provide an important insight into business dynamics, as new enterprises/fast-growing enterprises tend to be innovators that achieve efficiency gains and improve the overall competitiveness of an economy, while relatively high death rates may indicate economic activities that are no longer profitable.

The statistics presented in this section cover industry, construction and services except holding companies (NACE Sections B to S excluding Group 64.2). Note that business demography statistics are not available for Greece.

Relatively high enterprise birth rates in Lithuania and Romania

The enterprise birth rate measures the number of new enterprises in relation to the total population of active enterprises. The EU’s birth rate for new enterprises in the business economy is estimated at just below 10 % for 2013, but was considerably higher in Lithuania (a single region at this level of analysis) where it reached 23.6 % and in all eight Romanian regions where it ranged from 20.9 % to 24.5 %; the birth rate was also high in Turkey (only national data available for 2011) at 23.3 %. Birth rates of 11 % or higher (the darkest shade of blue in Map 3) were also recorded for all Portuguese regions, three Bulgarian regions, the Danish capital city region and the two other Baltic Member States; only national data are available for some EU Member States, and among these Poland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom also had enterprise birth rates of 11 % or higher.

The lowest enterprise birth rates (below 8 %, shown by the lightest shade of blue in Map 3) were recorded in 16 Italian regions (some of which were NUTS level 1 regions), five Czech regions, three Spanish regions and two Hungarian regions, as well as in Cyprus and Malta (each one region at this level of detail); equally low levels were also reported for enterprise birth rates in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Finland and Sweden, for which only national data are available.

Business demography statistics at a national level can hide substantial differences between regions. Among those multi-regional EU Member States for which regional data are available, the largest differences between the highest and lowest regional enterprise birth rates were recorded in Italy, from a high of 9.5 % recorded in Campania down to a low of 5.0 % in Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste.

Capital city regions often recorded some of the highest enterprise birth rates

In 2013, enterprise birth rates tended to be higher than average in capital city regions. This may reflect a range of factors, for example, capital city regions generally offer the largest potential market (but also the highest number of competitors), they are often characterised by more highly-educated workforces and studies show that graduates are more likely to start a new business, and they generally have a high proportion of service-based enterprises (where barriers to entry are often quite low).

In Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Croatia and Slovakia, the highest enterprise birth rates were registered for the capital city region, while in Italy the capital city region had the second highest enterprise birth rate and in Portugal the third highest rate. The two exceptions to this situation were Spain and Romania, as enterprise birth rates in their capital city regions were low compared with their other regions.

All Portuguese and Hungarian regions had enterprise death rates of 12 % or higher in 2012

The enterprise death rate for industry, construction and services except holding companies in the EU is estimated at about 9 % for 2012. Among the NUTS level 2 regions of the EU, the highest enterprise death rates were recorded in three Portuguese regions: the autonomous regions of Açores (20.2 %), Madeira (19.9 %) and the Área Metropolitana de Lisboa (19.7 %). In total, there were 25 regions (as shown by the darkest shade of blue in Map 4) where the enterprise death rate was at least 12 % in 2012. Among these were the remaining four Portuguese regions, all seven Hungarian regions, three of the four Slovakian regions, half of the eight Romanian regions, one region each from Bulgaria and Denmark, as well as Latvia and Lithuania (each one region at this level of detail).

The lowest enterprise death rates, by far, were in Belgium (only national data are available) and Malta (a single region at this level of detail), where rates of 2.4 % and 2.8 % were recorded. A total of 13 Italian regions (some of which were NUTS level 1 regions) and one Spanish region reported enterprise death rates below 8 % (the lightest shade of blue in Map 4), along with Luxembourg (one region at this level of detail), as well as France, Austria and Finland for which only national data are available; a low enterprise death rate was also reported for Norway (only national data available).

Business churn: regions with relatively high enterprise birth and death rates

Several of the regions that recorded relatively high enterprise birth rates were also characterised by relatively high enterprise death rates. This is perhaps not surprising, as dynamic and innovative enterprises entering a market may be in a position to drive incumbents out of the market. Relatively high enterprise birth and death rates were observed in all of the Portuguese regions and Severoiztochen in the north east of Bulgaria, with enterprise death rates higher than birth rates; in half of the Romanian regions, the Danish capital city region, as well as in Latvia and Lithuania (both single regions at this level of detail), enterprise birth rates were higher than death rates.

High three-year survival rates in Romania, Sweden and Belgium

One of the areas of interest in business demography data is to provide information about the life cycle of newly-born enterprises, in particular, their ability to survive and potentially expand so they are in a position to offer employment. Map 5 looks at three-year survival rates, and shows the proportion of enterprises born in 2010 that had survived until 2013.

SPOTLIGHT ON THE REGIONS

Centru, Romania

Brasov Piata Sfatului.jpg

In 2013, the EU’s three-year survival rate for newly-born enterprises in the business economy was approximately 55 %; in other words, just over half of the enterprises born in 2010 had survived into 2013. The Romanian Centru region had a higher three-year survival rate (77.3 %), although it is important to note that its latest data relate to the period 2008–11.

©: BerndGehrmann at the German language Wikipedia

The EU’s three-year survival rate for the business economy is estimated to be roughly 55 %, in other words, just over half of the enterprises born in 2010 had survived into 2013. Sweden and Belgium (only national data available) had high three-year survival rates, just below 75 %. Other regions where three-year survival rates were at least 60 % (and therefore shown with the darkest shade of blue in Map 5) were located in Italy (nine regions), the Czech capital city region, Cyprus and Luxembourg (each one region at this level of detail), as well as in Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria and Slovenia (only national data are available). All of the Romanian regions reported relatively high survival rates too, although their latest available data covers the period 2008–11.

The lowest three-year survival rates, where less than half of the enterprises born in 2010 had survived until 2013 (shown with the lightest shade of blue in Map 5) were located in all seven regions of Portugal and Hungary, seven (out of 19) regions in Spain, one region in Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania (each one region at this level of detail) as well as in Finland (only national data are available).

Data sources and availability

Structural business statistics

A recast SBS Regulation (EC) No 295/2008 and its implementing regulations provide the legal basis for the annual collection of SBS. Regional statistics are compiled for wages and salaries and the number of persons employed. They are provided for NACE divisions and for NUTS level 2 regions; note that Croatian statistics are currently available at a national level. Regional SBS are also available for Norway, while data are presented at a national level for Switzerland.

The regional SBS presented in this article are restricted to the non-financial business economy, which includes NACE Sections B (mining and quarrying), C (manufacturing), D (electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply), E (water supply, sewerage and waste management), F (construction), G (distributive trades), H (transport and storage), I (accommodation and food service activities), J (information and communication), L (real estate activities), M (professional, scientific and technical activities) and N (administrative and support service activities), as well as NACE Division 95 (repair of computers and personal and household goods). The aggregate for the non-financial business economy therefore excludes agricultural, forestry and fishing activities and public administration and other services (such as defence, education and health), which are not covered by SBS, and also excludes financial services (NACE Section K).

The statistical unit used for regional SBS is generally the local unit, which is an enterprise or part of an enterprise situated in a geographically identified place. Local units are usually classified under NACE according to their main activity (in some EU Member States the activity code is assigned on the basis of the principal activity of the enterprise to which the local unit belongs).

The nature of detailed regional SBS is such that some data cells are not disclosed for reasons of statistical confidentiality, following common principles and guidelines. In these cases, data are flagged as being confidential and individual values/cells are not published. Given that choropleth maps are compiled using a range of values for each colour shade, it has been possible to assign confidential cells to a specific class while respecting non-disclosure procedures.

Business demography

While the recast SBS Regulation 295/2008 and its implementing regulations provide the legal basis for the annual collection of SBS, regional business demography statistics remain outside of this remit. A pilot data collection for regional business demography statistics was launched in 2012 by Eurostat with the support of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. This voluntary exercise was supported by a number of grants provided to national statistical authorities. Development work in this area is on-going and another survey was launched in 2015, covering the reference periods of 2011–13. These statistics will continue to be delivered on a voluntary basis until the legal requirements of the Framework Regulation Integrating Business Statistics (FRIBS) are in force, after which regional data on business demography will become part of the regular annual collection of structural business statistics.

A substantial share of cohesion policy funding has been dedicated to improving entrepreneurship and the business environment, targeting newly born enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As such, the latest data collection exercise was designed to support regional cohesion policy (2014–20), providing important information for monitoring both the Europe 2020 strategy and regional cohesion policy.

NUTS

The data presented in this article are based exclusively on the 2013 version of NUTS.

Context

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs is responsible, among others, for policies related to:

  • completing the internal market for goods and services;
  • improving the range, quality, and competitiveness of products and services;
  • strengthening the EU’s industrial base;
  • helping turn the EU into a ‘smart, sustainable, and inclusive economy’ by implementing the industrial and sectorial policies of the Europe 2020 initiative;
  • providing sector-specific and business-friendly policies;
  • supporting the internationalisation of EU businesses;
  • promoting industrial innovation to generate new sources of growth;
  • encouraging the growth of SMEs, in particular through facilitating their access to finance;
  • and promoting an entrepreneurial culture by reducing the administrative burden on small businesses; facilitating access to funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and supporting access to global markets for EU companies.

Small Business Act

Adopted in June 2008, the Small Business Act for Europe (COM(2008) 394 final) reflects the European Commission’s recognition of the central role that SMEs play in the EU economy. It put in place a policy framework for SMEs, aiming to promote entrepreneurship, help SMEs tackle problems which hamper their development and implant a ‘think small first’ principle in policymaking. In February 2011, a review of the Small Business Act (COM(2011) 78 final) was conducted: this presented an overview of the progress achieved and set out new actions to respond to challenges resulting from the financial and economic crisis.

Entrepreneurship 2020

The European Commission adopted an Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan (COM(2012) 795 final) at the start of 2013, designed to stimulate and reignite entrepreneurial spirit across the EU and to remove obstacles so that more entrepreneurs are encouraged to start a business. The plan is built on three main pillars:

  • entrepreneurial education and training to support growth and business creation;
  • the creation of an environment where entrepreneurs can flourish and grow, removing existing administrative barriers and supporting entrepreneurs in crucial phases of the business life-cycle; and,
  • reigniting the culture of entrepreneurship in the EU and nurturing the new generation of entrepreneurs, developing role models and reaching out to specific groups whose entrepreneurial potential is not being fully tapped (for example, some ethnic minorities).

The action plan also seeks to remove the stigma attached to business failure and to make it easier for entrepreneurs to attract investors.

European industrial renaissance

The effects of the financial and economic crisis were particularly harsh in the industrial economy, with the relative weight of the EU’s manufacturing sector declining during the recession. Nevertheless, industrial activities continue to account for the lion’s share of EU exports, research and innovation, and also provide a range of high-skilled jobs.

The latest information available from national accounts suggests that gross value added from the EU-28’s manufacturing sector accounted for 15.5 % of total gross value added in 2015. In its communication (COM(2014) 14 final), titled, ‘For a European Industrial Renaissance’, the European Commission set a target of taking the share of manufacturing back to 20 % of GDP by 2020, calling on EU and national decision-makers to recognise the central importance of modernising the industrial base, raising industrial competitiveness, and promoting production and investment as key drivers of economic growth and jobs. The communication also called, among others, for:

  • mainstreaming industrial competitiveness in other policy areas;
  • maximising the potential of the internal market;
  • implementing the instruments of regional development in support of innovation, skills, and entrepreneurship;
  • promoting access to critical inputs in order to encourage investment.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Data visualisation

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Database

Regional structural business statistics (reg_sbs)
SBS data by NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev. 2 (from 2008 onwards) (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)
Multiannual statistics for distributive trades (NACE Rev. 2, G) by NUTS 2 regions (sbs_r_3k_my_r2)
Regional business demography (reg_bd)
Business demography and high growth enterprise by NACE Rev. 2 and NUTS 3 regions (bd_hgnace2_r3)
Business demography by size class and NUTS 3 regions (bd_size_r3)
Employer business demography by NACE Rev. 2 and NUTS 3 regions (bd_enace2_r3)
Employer business demography by size class and NUTS 3 regions (bd_esize_r3)
SBS - regional data - all activities (sbs_r)

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Methodology / Metadata

Source data for tables and maps (MS Excel)

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