Back Small and medium-sized enterprises: an overview


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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 2015, the overwhelming majority (92.8 %) 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.

Infographic: statistical overview of SMEs 2015

In 2015, there were 23.4 million SMEs in the European Union's non-financial business economy. Together they employed 91 million people and generated € 3,934 billion of value added. The economic contribution from SMEs was particularly apparent in Malta, Cyprus and Estonia, with SMEs providing more than three quarters of the total value added generated in each of their non-financial business economies.

Today marks the start of European SME week.

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