Statistics Explained

Glossary:Enterprise size

Enterprises can be classified in different categories according to their size; for this purpose different criteria may be used (e.g. number of persons employed, employees, balance sheet total, investments, ...), but the one most common in a statistical context is number of persons employed :

  • small and medium-sized enterprises, abbreviated as SMEs: fewer than 250 persons employed;
SMEs are further subdivided into:
  • micro enterprises: fewer than 10 persons employed;
  • small enterprises: 10 to 49 persons employed;
  • medium-sized enterprises: 50 to 249 persons employed;
  • large enterprises: 250 or more persons employed.

The number of persons employed should not be confused with employees or full-time equivalents; 'persons employed' includes employees but also working proprietors, partners working regularly in the enterprise and unpaid family workers.

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