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The small business act for Europe

The small business act for Europe

The small business act (SBA) is an overarching framework for the EU policy on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It aims to improve the approach to entrepreneurship in Europe, simplify the regulatory and policy environment for SMEs, and remove the remaining barriers to their development.

Main priorities of the SBA

Read the full text of the small business act.

The SBA review

The SBA review, published in February 2011, is a major landmark in tracking the implementation of the small business act. It aims to integrate the SBA with the Europe 2020 strategy. 6 of the 7 Europe 2020 flagship initiatives will help SMEs achieve sustainable growth.

Public consultation on the new SBA (2014)

The aim of the public consultation is to gather feed-back and ideas on new actions to support SMEs.

Individual replies received via 'EUSurvey'

Please note that the replies of 271 respondents who asked to maintain their confidentiality are not published here.

Governance structure of the SBA

  1. Network of SME envoys
  2. SME Assembly

'Think small first' principle

Thanks to the 'think small first' principle, SMEs' interests are taken into account at a very early stage of policy making. This helps the EU develop SMEs-friendly legislation. The tools enabling effective application of the principle are

  • the SME test
  • the use of specific provisions in legislation avoiding disproportionate burden on SMEs
  • consulting and listening to SMEs
  • the work of SME envoys
  • the use of 'common commencement' dates - business-related legislation comes into force on a limited number of fixed dates, making life easier for SMEs

Implementation of the SBA

The SME performance review is one of the main tools the Commission uses to monitor and assess countries' progress in implementing the SBA.

Consulting and listening to SMEs

  • Consulting – the Commission consults the European Parliament and EU country governments before drawing up proposals, such as the SBA. SMEs can voice their opinion through the network of SME envoys
  • Listening – the Commission operates 2 mechanisms to test the impact of EU legislation and programmes on SMEs. Both mechanisms are managed by the Enterprise Europe Network
    • in advance via SME panels - SME panels consult SMEs on forthcoming EU legislation and policies.
    • retrospectively via the SME feedback mechanism – the Enterprise Europe Network partners collect the views and feedback from SMEs on a broad range of EU policy initiatives, actions, legislation or programmes related to the internal market

Supporting documents