SME growth: Key to Europe's economy


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) are potentially the most dynamic sector of the economy. Their growth is key for the overall economic well-being. The Commission has several programmes and measures in place to promote SME growth. 

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According to the Commission's definition, whether a company qualifies as an SME is determined by the factors headcount and turnover or balance sheet total. The Commission counts companies with less than 250 workers and a turnover of less than 50 million euro annually as SME. Companies with a balance sheet total of more than 43 million euro do not qualify as SME. 

SME represent 99% of all companies in the EU. They are the biggest sector of the EU economy, with 23 million enterprises employing around 75 million people. are responsible for the creation of one in every two new jobs. SME produce considerably more than half the EU's GDP. 

Due to their small size and lean structures, SME are potentially more dynamic than big enterprises, which makes them particularly important for job creation. But they are also more vulnerable, lacking often access to capital and to funding sources.