EU small and medium-sized enterprises: an overview

 

 

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) — in other words, enterprises with fewer than 250 persons employed — are often referred to as the backbone of the European economy, providing jobs and growth opportunities. On the occasion of Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, Eurostat is highlighting data on such enterprises.

In 2019, the overwhelming majority (98.9 %) of EU businesses forming part of the non-financial business economy were micro or small enterprises employing fewer than 50 persons. Their economic weight was lower in terms of their contribution to employment or value added: micro and small enterprises employed just under half (48.4 %) of the EU’s non-financial business economy workforce, while they contributed just over one third (35.3 %) of the value added.

Meanwhile, only 0.9 % of EU businesses were medium-sized enterprises with more than 50 but fewer than 250 employees. Medium-sized enterprises employed just over a sixth (16.0 %) of the EU’s non-financial business economy workforce, while they contributed around the same share (17.1 %) of the value added.

Among the EU Member States, micro and small enterprises contributed the highest shares of value added in the non-financial business economies of Malta (55.8 % of total value added generated by micro and small enterprises), Cyprus (52.9 %) and Estonia (52.6 %). Meanwhile, medium-sized enterprises contributed the highest shares of value added in Estonia (26.0 % of total value added generated by medium enterprises), Latvia and Lithuania (both 25.1 %).

Would you like to know more? 

You can find further information on SMEs and the business economy in Europe in Eurostat’s 2022 edition of Key Figures on European Business — Statistics Illustrated. The update will be released next week.

Methodological notes: 

  • The European Commission defines SMEs as those enterprises employing fewer than 250 persons that have a turnover of less than 50 million euros and/or a balance sheet total of less than EUR 43 million euros (see Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC)
  • Share of total value added for each enterprise size class: estimated.
  • Cyprus: data on value added excludes mining and quarrying, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, real estate activities, and repair of computers and personal and household goods.
  • Portugal: data on value added excludes real estate activities.
  • Austria: 2016 data on value added.
  • The data were extracted in May and June 2022.

www.ec.europa.eu/eurostat/