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How can we make the EU a better place for SMEs?

What do small and medium sized enterprises in Europe need from future EU policy? This is the core question of a consultation the Commission launched to help upgrade the EU´s Small Business Act (SBA).

The SBA – a wide-ranging set of measures designed to make life easier for small companies – has already proved to be a good basis for SME policy. As it is built upon the exchange of best practices, support for internationalisation and entrepreneurship as well as access to finance (implemented via the financing instruments of CIP and COSME), it encourages EU countries to take up effective solutions that have worked elsewhere and to come up with equally good ideas themselves. Combined with strong initiatives for smart regulation it has contributed to SMEs´ ability to weather the economic crisis

This spring, European level business organisations and national government SMES representatives (SME envoys) already agreed that the four existing pillars of the SBA should remain:

  1. Access to finance: Even with some indication of a more positive outlook, SMEs are still much in need of affordable solutions for their financing needs.
  2. Access to markets / internationalisation: For SMEs to grow new markets need to be explored.
  3. Entrepreneurship: continued support for potential entrepreneurs is crucial because of continuing levels of high unemployment especially among young people.
  4. Better regulation: the reduction of administrative burdens continues to remain an important target, despite progress already made in this area.
  5. To close the skills gap felt in many of Europe´s economies it was also agreed to add a fifth pillar to make EU SME policy even more stable:
  6. Training and skills of entrepreneurs and staff: for the economy to grow entrepreneurs need skills themselves and skilled staff.

The public consultation  seeks further input from all interested parties, including entrepreneurs and business organisations, to help the European Commission ensure the SBA is fit to meet future challenges.

As public consultations it will remain open for 12 weeks and will close on the 15/12/2014.

Of interest