SMEs, the lifeblood of the economy

SMEs, the lifeblood of the economy

12 May marks European SME Day, recognising their valuable contribution to the European economy

They may be small in size, but their work and contribution to the economy is enormous. This 12 May marks European SME Day, to recognise the valuable role that small and medium-sized enterprises play in the EU’s working ecosystem and their contribution to the economy and innovation.

SMEs are key to job creation, and are classified according to their size:

· Micro enterprise: 1 to 10 employees.

· Small enterprise: 11 to 50 employees.

· Medium-sized enterprises: 51 to 250 employees.

According to data from the European Parliament, SMEs make up 99% of companies in the European Union, create two out of every three private sector jobs and contribute to more than half of the total value added generated by companies in the EU. To raise the profile of SMEs, the European SME Week will be held in Bilbao in November, with many activities for SMEs to connect with potential partners and investors.

Concentration of SMEs in Europe

Which European countries is the largest number of SMEs that have received European funding concentrated? This Kaila graph shows the ranking of the number of SMEs in the European innovation ecosystem that have received funding from institutions. Germany and Spain lead the podium, with more than 3,500 each, followed by Italy, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Greece.

This other graph shows the ten countries that have obtained the greatest return from European funding programmes through their SMEs since 2014. It is practically the same as the previous ranking and is led by Germany, with more than 2,500 million euros in funding.

Boosting SMEs

If you work for or own an SME, you will be familiar with EISMEA, the European Innovation Council’s SME Executive Agency and successor to the EASME agency. EISMEA aims to improve the competitiveness of companies and SMEs, promoting their entrepreneurship and helping them to get started, access finance or internationalise. In kaila you can see the open calls for funding that EISMEA has, you can consult them here.

During 2023, the ‘Ideas powered for business’ grant programme has also been launched for SMEs to help them protect their intellectual property rights. It will run until 8 December 2023, with limited funds that will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so we encourage you to sign up early!