Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe's economy. They represent 99% of all businesses in the EU. They employ around 100 million people, account for more than half of Europe’s GDP and play a key role in adding value in every sector of the economy. SMEs bring innovative solutions to challenges like climate change, resource efficiency and social cohesion and help spread this innovation throughout Europe’s regions. They are therefore central to the EU’s twin transitions to a sustainable and digital economy. They are essential to Europe’s competitiveness and prosperity, industrial ecosystems, economic and technological sovereignty, and resilience to external shocks.
See the SME definition.
At the centre of the Commission's action is the new SME Strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe. It aims to considerably increase the number of SMEs engaging in sustainable business practices as well as the number of SMEs employing digital technologies. Ultimately, the goal is that Europe becomes the most attractive place to start a small business, make it grow and scale-up in the single market and beyond. More on SME Strategy.
The SME strategy proposes actions to remove regulatory and practical obstacles to doing business or scaling up within the Single Market and beyond. More on reducing regulatory burden.
The Commission’s priority is also to ensure that enterprises make the most out of cross border activities, both within the EU Single Market and outside the EU. More on SME internationalisation.
Access to finance is one of the most pressing issues for many small enterprises. The Commission works on improving the financing environment for SMEs and provides information on funding. More on access to finance.
To deliver results, the new SME Strategy will be underpinned by a robust partnership between the EU and EU countries, including regional and local authorities. The EU SME envoy will work together with national envoys to ensure and monitor the implementation of the strategy and the application of the ‘think small first’ principles in all EU policies. More on EU SME envoys and creating an EU country partnership for delivery.
Entrepreneurship means acting upon opportunities and ideas and transforming them into value for others, which can be financial, cultural, or social. More on entrepreneurship support.