Brussels, 25 May 2011
“Ms or Mr SME”: Small business gets an advocate in each EU Member State
Newly appointed Ms or Mr SME will advocate for the interests of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). Chiefly they will check the correct application of the EU law on SMEs and ensure that policies at national, regional and local level are enterprise friendly''. Today, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani inaugurated a new network of Member States' SME Envoys at the SBA conference “Mobilising SMEs for the Future of Europe” in Budapest. As SMEs are affected by policies originating in different government departments ranging from tax to financial and from regulatory to education, the SME envoys should help small businesses to concentrate on their core business to strive and create jobs.
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said: “The new SME Envoys will ensure that administrations "think small first" and take the interests of SMEs into account for every new law and regulation. I count on our new Mrs and Mr SME so that we can create an ecosystem that is right for small businesses together, allowing them to unleash their great drive and potential to create jobs and growth. When we mean business in Europe, we think small first but we aim BIG."
The Small Business Act (SBA) is the European Commission's SME policy aiming to make Europe more business friendly and encouraging people to start their own business. In the future, the new Mr or Mrs SME will meet with SME representative organisations at EU-wide level within the SBA Advisory Group. This is part of the new governance called for in the recent review of the Small Business Act. This new mechanism will ensure closer monitoring and coordinated action in support of SMEs.
The SBA has already helped to cut regulations, provided funding to more than 110.000 SMEs so far with 200.000 planned to benefit from the specific SME bank loan guarantees and venture capital schemes by 2012, and proposed small business friendly solutions to issues such as late payments or access to public procurement. Member States have also taken similar measures. They have reduced the cost and time of setting up a company from 12 days and €485 in 2007 to 7 days and €399 in 2010, enhanced SMEs' access to credit and launched internationalisation schemes. However, more needs to be done. The newly appointed SME Envoys are expected to focus and accelerate actions at national level.
The “Mobilising SMEs for the Future of Europe” conference is co-organised with the Hungarian EU Presidency, was attended by representatives of small business, business organisations and public administrations charged with the task of coordinating SME policy.
The recent SBA Review pointed to the need for better governance so as to ensure that the "Think Small First" concept is applied at all levels of policy making. The European Commission has appointed Mr. Daniel Calleja Crespo, Deputy Director-General at the European Commission's Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, as the new EU's SME Envoy. The SBA Review also called on countries to appoint an SME Envoy whose central role will be to ensure that the "Think Small First" principle is applied at all levels of government, throughout the EU.
Europe's 23 million small and medium-sized enterprises are at the heart of its economy and society, accounting for 98% of businesses and two thirds of the total private employment.
For more information:
“Small Business Act” for Europe
List of national SME Envoys: