Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

Until relatively recently, different EU member states had different definitions of what constituted an SME. In 2012 the European Commission opened a consultation on the definition of SMEs, which resulted in the following definition:

  Enterprise category Employees Turnover or Balance sheet total
  Medium   < 250   ≤ € 50 m   ≤ € 43 m
  Small   < 50   ≤ € 10 m   ≤ € 10 m
  Micro   < 10   ≤ € 2 m   ≤ € 2 m


SMEs are said to be responsible for driving innovation and competition in many economic sectors. Their importance is recognised by the European Commission who host a dedicated website and specific SME-focused funding calls.

In addition, SMEs can take advantage of the Enterprise Europe Network, which helps small business to make the most of the European marketplace.

SMEs will be encouraged to participate in Horizon 2020 programmes through new dedicated SME measures. These aim to fill gaps in funding for early-stage, high-risk research and innovation by SMEs as well as stimulating breakthrough innovations.