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Glossary

Small or medium sized Enterprises

  • Posted on: 12.03.2012
  • Abbreviation: SME

Website: Link

The more than 20 million SMEs in the EU represent 99% of businesses, and are a key driver for economic growth, innovation, employment and social integration. The European Commission aims to promote successful entrepreneurship and improve the business environment for SMEs, to allow them to realise their full potential in today's global economy.

The European Commission works on broad policy issues affecting entrepreneurship and SMEs across Europe, and assists SMEs through networks and business support measures.

"SME" stands for small and medium-sized enterprises – as defined in EU law. The main factors determining whether a company is an SME are:

  1. number of employees and
  2. either turnover or balance sheet total.

The category of micro- small and medium sized enterprises applies to businesses with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of max. EUR 50 million or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million.

  • Small businesses employ fewer than 50 people and have a annual turnover (or annual balance sheet) of max EUR 10 million.
  • Micro-businesses employ fewer than 10 people and have a  annual turnover (or annual balance sheet) of max. EUR 2 million.
  • Medium-sized enterprises employ fewer than 250 people and have a annual turnover (or annual balance sheet) of max EUR 50 million.

 

Related Content

User guide to the SME definition
  • Document
  • Posted on: 14.05.2015
  • Created by: Maurizio Vulcano

User guide to the SME definition

The SME definition Recommendation that came into force on 1 January 2005 aims to ensure that support measures are granted only to those enterprises that...

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