Map of the European Union, symbolic for the European Action Programme for small and medium-sized enterprises

© iStock.com/ElenVD

Taking up a German initiative, the EU SME Envoys Network has drawn up the new European Action Programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The European SME Action Programme was presented in Brussels today by Dr Sabine Hepperle, Germany’s representative on the EU SME Envoys Network, to Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the Commissioner responsible for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

Economic Affairs Minister Brigitte Zypries said: “Our aim in the European SME Action Programme is to give a boost to Europe’s 23 million small and medium-sized businesses and to European SME policy. SMEs play a key role for innovation, inclusive growth and jobs in Europe. Amongst other things, the Action Programme promotes progress on cutting red tape, providing better support for SME growth, securing the skills we need, ensuring better access to capital, and speeding up the broadband roll-out.

We have already achieved a fair bit in Germany. This government has cut the burden of red tape by approximately 2 billion euros, particularly for SMEs. We have various programmes to promote the growth of SMEs, and the new KfW venture capital company is offering better access to venture capital.”

The European SME Action Programme cites six key fields for action: better legislation, access to markets, access to finance, entrepreneurship, securing skills, and digitisation. It also addresses issues like the sharing economy and alternative finance (e.g. crowdfunding). The aim is to add to and update the Small Business Act, which was last revised in 2011. New issues include digitisation and skills.

It contains over 100 recommendations for action by the EU and the Member States. These range from support for the building of broadband infrastructure to boosting the spirit of entrepreneurship in schools. Further to this, the European SME Action Programme includes a total of around 50 model examples of good practice in various countries.

The European SME Envoys Network is a mouthpiece and advocate of the interests of the approximately 23 million SMEs in Europe. The high-level SME Envoys from the various Member States, and representatives of European SME associations, have been working since 2011 to promote the interests of SMEs in the EU and its Member States.

The Action Programme can be found here.

For more information, please go here (in German language).