Small and medium-sized enterprises: an overview - Products Eurostat News

null Small and medium-sized enterprises: an overview


© Mix3r /

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) — in other words, enterprises with less than 250 persons employed — are often referred to as the backbone of the European economy, providing jobs and growth opportunities.

In 2016, an overwhelming majority (93.0%) of enterprises in the European Union’s non-financial business economy were enterprises with less than 10 persons employed (micro enterprises). In contrast, just 0.2% of all enterprises had 250 or more persons employed and were therefore classified as large enterprises.


Non-financial business economy by size class, 2016 overview

The source dataset is accessible here.


The economic weight of large enterprises was considerably greater in employment and value added terms. In 2016, large enterprises provided work to one third of the EU’s non-financial business economy workforce (33.3%) and contributed to almost half of total value added (43.8%).


Focus on SMEs

In 2016, there were 24.7 million SMEs in the EU’s nonfinancial business economy, employing 95 million people and contributing EUR 4 018 billion to the value added. The economic contribution made by SMEs was particularly apparent in Malta, Estonia and Cyprus, with SMEs providing more than three quarters of the total value added generated in each of their non-financial business economies.


Value added in the non-financial business economy, by size class, 2016

The source dataset is accessible here.


Today marks the start of European SME week.


For more statistics on business:


To contact us, please visit our User Support page.

For press queries, please contact our Media Support.