European SMEs are recovering and this trend is confirmed by data showing that over the period 2008 – 2017, gross value added generated by EU-28 SMEs increased by 14.3% and SMEs employment grew by 2.5%.
This is what the European Commission found out and shared in the Annual Report on European SMEs that reviews the recent economic performances and analyses the achievements of the Small Business Act (SBA) that celebrated its 10th anniversary in autumn 2018.
According to the Report EU-28 SMEs significantly contributed to the European recovery, by accounting for 47% of the total increase from 2008 to 2017 in the value added generated by the non-financial business sector and for 52% of the cumulative increase employment in the sector. The projections for 2019 remain positive, EU-28 SMEs are expected to grow by 1.3%, but this trend could be affected by numerous risks, such as the development of the Brexit or potential international trade conflicts.
In order to boost internationalisation – which is one of the SBA principles – the European Union encourages Member States to support SMEs in exploring export opportunities and implements programmes in favour of SMEs interested in accessing new markets. The implementation of the Small Business Act has supported the development and growth of SMEs through the adoption of more than 3,300 policy measures, but the Report states that much more can be done, in particular with regard to some of the 10 principles of the SBA. Among the areas that require more efforts:
- “skills and innovation” – promoting the enhancement of skills in the SME workforce and all forms of innovation
- “second chance” – ensuring that honest entrepreneurs who have experienced bankruptcy are promptly given a second opportunity to succeed.
Read more here.