Structural business statistics at regional level
- Data extracted in January 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: September 2018.
This article forms part of Eurostat’s annual flagship publication, the Eurostat regional yearbook. Presented according to the activity classification, NACE, the first half of this article is based on a set of structural business statistics (SBS) which 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 and death rates, as well as information pertaining to high-growth enterprises.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 1.1 Sectoral size and growth
- 1.2 Patterns of employment specialisation in the non-financial business economy
- 1.3 Regional employment specialisation and concentration measures
- 1.4 Regional employment specialisation
- 1.5 Enterprise demography: births and deaths
- 1.6 Enterprise demography: high-growth enterprises
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
- 6 External links
Main statistical findings
- The two highest increases in value added (at the NACE Section level) within the non-financial business economy between 2012 and 2014 were recorded for two of the business-oriented services: administrative and support service activities; and professional, scientific and technical activities.
- There was a fairly clear east–west split in the relative contribution of industrial activities to non-financial business economy employment in 2014, with industry generally recording a higher share of employment in the easternmost regions of the EU.
- The largest employers in the EU were food products manufacturing and retail trade, while the smallest were tobacco products manufacturing and air transport services.
- In the capital city regions of the United Kingdom — the western and eastern regions of Inner London — non-financial services accounted for 95.1 % and 92.1 % of the non-financial business economy workforce; Inner London - West was the most specialised region in the EU for multimedia publishing, legal and accounting activities, activities of head offices, and advertising and market research.
- Several regions recorded relatively high enterprise birth rates and also relatively high death rates: all of the Portuguese and Slovakian regions, as well as in the Danish and Romanian capital city regions, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Sectoral size and growth
SBS cover industry (NACE Sections B to E), construction (NACE Section F) and non-financial services (NACE Sections G to J and L to N and Division 95), 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.
Some 136 million persons were employed in the EU-28’s non-financial business economy in 2014
According to estimates made using national SBS, there were 23.4 million enterprises active in the EU-28’s non-financial business economy in 2014. Together, they generated EUR 6 582 billion of gross value added and employed some 136 million persons. At the NACE section level of detail, the largest activity in the EU-28 was manufacturing on the basis of an analysis by value added (26.0 % of the non-financial business economy total), whereas distributive trades was the largest activity on the basis of an analysis by employment (24.0 % of the non-financial business economy total). Figure 1 shows these shares, combining this information with rates of change between 2012 and 2014.
Focusing on value added, nearly all activities reported growth during the period 2012 to 2014, although it should be noted that value added is recorded in current price terms so the rate of change reflects price changes. In many activities prices are likely to have risen during the period under consideration, although this may not be the case for mining and quarrying where a significant part of output is related to energy prices, and so price changes as well as other factors (such as dwindling fossil fuel reserves) may explain part of the large fall in value added for this particular activity. The two highest increases in value added were recorded for two of the business-oriented services: administrative and support service activities; and professional, scientific and technical activities. All non-financial services reported growth over the period under consideration, as did construction to a lesser extent. The four industrial activities reported a more mixed picture: value added grew for the large manufacturing activity as well as for water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities; by contrast, there was a considerable contraction in the value added generated by mining and quarrying, and a less marked reduction for electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply.
In employment terms, the picture was more varied than for value added. Many of the non-financial business activities reported little or no change in their employment levels between 2012 and 2014, with most activities registering small falls; this was the case for the two largest activities, distributive trades and manufacturing. Larger contractions in the workforce were observed for construction and more notably mining and quarrying, the latter in combination with a large fall in value added over this period as already noted. Employment growth was almost exclusively concentrated in non-financial services (other than distributive trades, and transportation and storage), with overall increases in the number of persons employed reported around 5–6 % for most of the business-oriented services: there was also a marked expansion in employment for water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities.
Patterns of employment specialisation in the non-financial business economy
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 and for non-financial services 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 geographic conditions (particularly relevant in relation to tourism activities and water transport); 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 accounted for just less than one quarter (24.4 %) of the total workforce in the non-financial business economy in 2014, with their share continuing to fall gradually. 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 2014, with industry generally recording a higher share of employment in the easternmost regions of the EU.
There were 54 NUTS level 2 regions where the industrial workforce accounted for at least 35.0 % of those working in the non-financial business economy in 2014 (as shown by the darkest shade of blue in Map 1), none of which were capital city regions. 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 and moving westwards into Germany and Austria. In addition, there were single regions in Spain, France, central Italy and Finland which reported employment shares of at least 35 %.
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 activities which produce 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 48.8 % of non-financial business economy employment in the Czech region of Severovýchod in 2014, 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, two Bulgarian regions (Severozapaden and Severen tsentralen), the Hungarian region of Közép-Dunántúl and the Slovak region of Západné Slovensko. 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, 39.2 %.
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 55 regions were the capital city regions of half of the EU Member States. The lowest share of all was 1.8 % in Inner London - West.
Relative importance of the non-financial services workforce was highest in Inner London
The degree of regional specialisation in non-financial services is often the reverse of the specialisation in industrial activities: typically, regions that were relatively unspecialised in industrial activities reported relatively high degrees of specialisation in non-financial services. A particularly high or low specialisation in construction activities explains the situations where this is not the case.
In the capital city regions of the United Kingdom — the western and eastern regions of Inner London — non-financial services accounted for 95.1 % and 92.1 % of the non-financial business economy workforce. Inner London - West was the most specialised region in the EU for multimedia publishing, 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 EU 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) and several other regions centred around a major city, such as Hamburg and Köln in Germany, Utrecht in the Netherlands or Greater Manchester in the United Kingdom. Another feature of Map 2 is that there was a high propensity for service-oriented workforces to be located in regions that are characterised as tourist destinations, for example several of the Greek, Spanish and Portuguese regions, as well as the Finnish island region of Åland.
In 2014, non-financial services accounted for less than 55 % of non-financial business economy employment in 47 regions, mainly in eastern EU Member States; the lowest shares were in regions of the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Romania.
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 (except for Irish regions) 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.
Polish and North Sea regions were specialised in mining and quarrying
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 western Norway or eastern Scotland (the United Kingdom).
Nordic 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 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. Outer London - West and North West was the region most specialised in air transport and 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 Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Spain, Austria, Croatia, Portugal and Italy, 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 various business-oriented service activities
Capital city regions were the most specialised regions in many of the information and communication and business-oriented services. As already noted, Inner London - West was the most specialised region in the EU for multimedia publishing, legal and accounting activities, activities of head offices, and advertising and market research. Among the remaining information and communication and business-oriented services divisions, the most specialised regions included the capital city regions of the Czech Republic, Austria, Portugal and Romania.
Regional employment specialisation
Figures 2 and 3 provide an overview of the relative importance of economic activities at the NACE division level in the non-financial business economy workforce: Figure 2 concerns manufacturing divisions and Figure 3 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 so 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 2 and retail trade in Figure 3 — to the smallest — tobacco products manufacturing in Figure 2 and air transport in Figure 3.
Looking more closely at Figure 2, a few activities can be identified where not simply the range from largest to smallest is broad, but where the interquartile range (the width of the box in the figure) is also large. The ratio of the third quartile (the right-hand end of the box) to the first quartile (the left-hand end of the box), was particularly large for some of the smallest manufacturing activities, such as the manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products or the manufacture of leather and related products. Among the larger activities, a relatively high ratio between the third and first quartiles was observed for the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers. This reflects a relatively wide range of shares across the central half (in ranking terms) of regions, indicating activities where the level of specialisation is quite diverse. By contrast, activities where the interquartile range is narrow in relative terms — such as the manufacture of food products, the repair and installation of machinery and equipment, or the 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 a relatively high proportion of local clients, was relatively narrow in terms of the ratio between the maximum and median values and in terms of the inter-quartile range: for these three trade activities, the ratio between the third quartile and the first quartile was 1.4 : 1, narrower than for any of the other non-financial services.
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. 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 legal and accounting activities or in architectural and engineering activities, technical testing and analysis.
Enterprise demography: births and deaths
Business demography statistics describe the characteristics of enterprises within the business population. They cover, among other subjects, 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.
A substantial share of cohesion policy funding has been dedicated to improving entrepreneurship and the business environment. As such, the latest data collection exercise on business demography was designed to support regional cohesion policy (2014–2020), providing important information for monitoring purposes.
The statistics presented in Maps 3, 4 and 5 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 was estimated to be around10 % for 2014, but was considerably higher in Lithuania (a single region at this level of analysis) where it reached 25.1 %, in all four Slovakian regions where it ranged from 18.8 % to 20.4 % and all seven Portuguese regions where it ranged from 13.3 % to 16.6 % ; the birth rate was also high in Turkey (only national data available for 2011) at 23.3 %. Birth rates of 12 % or higher (the darkest shade of blue in Map 3) were also recorded for two Bulgarian regions, the Danish (2013 data) and Romanian capital city regions and single regions from Spain, France, Latvia (one region at this level of detail); only national data are available for some EU Member States and among these Poland and the United Kingdom also had enterprise birth rates of 12 % or higher.
The lowest enterprise birth rates (below 8 %, shown by the lightest shade of blue in Map 3) were recorded in 17 Italian regions, four regions each from Austria and Finland, single regions from Spain and Croatia, as well as in Cyprus and Malta (each one region at this level of detail; 2013 data for Malta); similarly low levels were also reported for enterprise birth rates in Belgium, Germany, Ireland 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 Spain, from a high of 14.7 % recorded in Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla down to a low of 7.3 % in País Vasco.
Capital city regions often recorded some of the highest enterprise birth rates
In 2014, 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, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Finland, the highest enterprise birth rates were registered for the capital city region, while the capital city region had the second highest enterprise birth rate in Portugal and the third highest rate in France and Austria. The two exceptions to this situation were Spain and Slovakia, as enterprise birth rates in their capital city regions were low compared with their other regions and in Slovakia, where the capital city region recorded the lowest enterprise birth rate among the four NUTS level 2 regions.
All Romanian regions had enterprise death rates of 23 % or higher in 2013
The enterprise death rate for industry, construction and services (except holding companies) in the EU was estimated to be about 9 % for 2013. Among the NUTS level 2 regions of the EU, the highest enterprise death rates were recorded in the eight Romanian regions, where rates of 23–27 % were recorded. Rates above 12 % (the darkest shade of blue in Map 4) were also recorded in all Portuguese and Slovakian regions, two Danish regions, as well as Latvia, Lithuania (each one region at this level of detail) and Poland (only national data available).
The lowest enterprise death rates were in Belgium (only national data are available), where a rate of 3.5 % was recorded. A total of 25 French regions also reported enterprise death rates below 6 % (the lightest shade of blue in Map 4), along with all five Finnish regions (2014 data) and two regions each from Italy and Austria.
Business churn: regions with relatively high enterprise birth and death rates
When analysing the information in Maps 3 and 4 it can be seen that 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 and Slovakian regions, as well as in the Danish and Romanian capital city regions, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
An alternative combined analysis can be made by looking at the difference between enterprise birth and death rates in each region. Enterprise death rates were higher than birth rates in 56 of the 142 regions in the EU for which data are available in both maps. This situation occurred in all Danish, Croatian and Romania regions, nearly all Czech, Italian and Portuguese regions, Cyprus, Malta (each only one region at this level of detail), Germany, Ireland, Poland (only national data available), as well as two regions each in Spain and Hungary. By contrast, relatively large percentage point differences between higher enterprise birth rates and lower death rates were recorded in all Slovakian regions, nearly all French regions, Lithuania (one region at this level of detail) and the United Kingdom (only national data available).
Enterprise demography: high-growth enterprises
The final analysis presented in this article looks not just at whether enterprises survive, but whether they expand their workforce. High-growth enterprises are those which have at least 10 employees at the beginning of a period of time and then average annual growth in the number of employees of more than 10.0 % over a three-year period. Enterprises with high growth are of interest because of their economic impact, particularly in creating employment opportunities. The use of a threshold of 10 employees at the beginning of the period is to avoid including very small enterprises with small absolute growth (with relatively negligible economic impact) but high relative growth, for example increasing from one employee to two employees. There is no restriction on the age of the enterprise (other than that they must be at least four years old in order to be able to measure the average growth over a three-year period), and so high growth enterprises include relatively young and also mature enterprises. The share of high growth enterprises that is shown in Figure 5 is calculated relative to the total number of enterprises with at least 10 employees at the end of the period of growth, 2014 in this case.
It is estimated that high growth enterprises made up 9.2 % of the business population (of enterprises with at least 10 employees) in 2014 in the EU-28 and that these enterprises employed 13.0 % of employees in enterprises with at least 10 employees. Although high-growth enterprises operated in all sectors of the business economy, their share in service sectors was higher in a majority of EU Member States, in particular within information and communication services as well as administrative and support service activities.
Looking at the regional analysis in Map 5, high growth enterprises made up 10 % or more of the business population (of enterprises with at least 10 employees) in 2014 in 19 of the 142 regions of the EU for which data are available in Map 5: these regions are shown in the darkest shade of blue. These included all Hungarian regions, two regions (in all cases including the capital city region) each from Bulgaria, Slovakia (2013 data) and Finland, as well as Latvia, Lithuania and Malta (each one region at this level of detail), and Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom (only national data available).
High growth enterprises made up at most 3.0 % of the business population (of enterprises with at least 10 employees) in Mayotte (France; 2013 data), all Romanian regions and Cyprus (one region at this level of detail). In addition, there were five EU Member States where at least one region recorded a share of high growth enterprises below 6.0 % (but above 3.0 %): Spain (two regions), France (one region), Italy, Austria (four regions each) and Portugal (one region).
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. The information presented in this article is restricted in terms of its activity coverage to the non-financial business economy (NACE Sections B–N, excluding Section K, as well as NACE Division 95) and 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) for which only partial information exists. Regional SBS are also available for Norway, while data are presented in Maps 1 and 2 at a national level for Switzerland but are excluded from the other regional analysis.
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. The nature of regional SBS is such that some data cells are not disclosed for reasons of statistical confidentiality: these cells are flagged as confidential and their values cannot be 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.
A pilot data collection for regional business demography statistics was launched in 2012 with the support of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy; this voluntary exercise provided a number of grants to national statistical authorities. Another survey was launched in 2015, covering the reference periods of 2011–2013. Regional business demography statistics will continue to be delivered on a voluntary basis until a new legal framework is adopted and implemented.
For more information:
Eurostat–OECD business demography — manual
The data presented in this article are based exclusively on the 2013 version of NUTS.
Glossary entries on Statistics Explained are available for a wide range of concepts/indicators related to structural business statistics, including: enterprises, gross value added, persons employed, enterprise births and enterprise deaths.
The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs is responsible, among others, for policies related to: completing the internal (or single) market for goods and services; helping turn the EU into a ‘smart, sustainable, and inclusive economy’ by implementing the industrial and sectorial policies of the Europe 2020 initiative; fostering entrepreneurship and growth by reducing the administrative burden on small businesses; facilitating access to funding for SMEs; supporting access to global markets for EU companies; generating policy on the protection and enforcement of industrial property rights, coordinating the EU position and negotiations, and assisting innovators on how to effectively use intellectual property rights; delivering the EU’s space policy, as well as research actions to spur technological innovation and economic growth.
Single market strategy
The single market’s benefits do not always materialise because rules are not known or implemented, or they are undermined by other barriers. In order to provide a boost to the single market, the European Commission presented a new single market strategy in October 2015. This aims to improve mobility for service providers, ensuring that innovative business models can flourish, making it easier for retailers to do business across borders, and enhancing access to goods and services throughout the EU.
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 provides 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.
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 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 global 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. This was followed by a complementary Communication in April 2016, titled, ‘Digitising European industry — reaping the full benefits of a digital single market’ (COM(2016) 180 final) which focuses on the digital transformation of the EU’s economy and the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative adopted in November 2016 to try to create conditions for the EU's many innovative entrepreneurs to establish world leading enterprises, adding a focus on venture capital, insolvency law and taxation.
For more information:
Directorate-General for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs
Further Eurostat information
- 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)
Methodology / Metadata
- Business registers — Recommendations Manual
- Glossary of business statistics
- Handbook on the design and implementation of business surveys
- Use of administrative sources for business statistics purposes
- Eurostat-OECD Manual on Business Demography Statistics
Source data for tables and maps (MS Excel)
- Regulation (EC) No 295/2008 of 11 March 2008 concerning structural business statistics