Some 99 per cent of all European companies are small businesses, with fewer
than 250 employees. As major employers and the main source of new jobs, they
hold the key to getting the European economy back on a strong growth track.
With the onset of the economic crisis in 2008, a very positive development
of small and medium enterprises (SME) came to a halt. Between 2002 and 2008,
SMEs in the EU turned out to be the most important European Economy job engine.
With 9.4 million jobs created between 2002 and 2008 SMEs outperformed large
firms. This is in sharp contrast to an estimated loss of 3.25 million jobs in
the SME sector over 2009 and 2010 further to the annual SME report 2010. In
light of the rather testing times ahead, an effective policy response is
crucial in helping SMEs to be successful. The European SME week launched today
is an important step in this respect.
The European Commission's Small Business Act for Europe (SBA),
adopted in 2008, is the key policy instrument which sets out an ambitious
agenda for action both in the member states and at the EU level in favour of
entrepreneurship and SMEs. It aims at developing an environment within which
entrepreneurship is rewarded, such as:
- introducing entrepreneurship education an integral part of the curriculum
at all stages of education in Member States;
- stimulating exchange of skills and mutual learning among young;
entrepreneurs through the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs scheme
- promoting female entrepreneurship through the network of Female
The swift implementation of the actions of the SBA is important to help SMEs
resume their role as job engines of our economies as quickly as possible.
European SME Week 2010 will offer the possibility to highlight the actions that
each country has taken to implement the SBA and make life easier for SMEs.
Events in the UK
European Small Business portal
European Entrepreneurship Video Award 2010
For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973
Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes