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The SME Envoy



Communication (COM(2008) 394 final) – ‘Think Small First’ - A ‘Small Business Act’ for Europe

The Envoy for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) acts as the interface between the European Commission and the SME community and plays a dual role, simultaneously acting within the Commission and interacting with the outside world. The Envoy listens to SMEs’ concerns and represents their interests in the EU’s law-making process. Not only does the Envoy give the Commission a human face in its dealings with European SMEs, including start-ups and scale-ups, but also stresses their importance for economic growth and job creation in Europe.

The competitiveness of the European Union (EU) is fundamentally dependent on the wellbeing of its SMEs. The EU’s 23 million SMEs make up 99 % of all EU companies and account for the majority of new jobs created. SMEs are thus an essential source of growth, increased employment and better jobs in the European economy, which are key aims of the Lisbon strategy.

Although they are affected by many EU policies, it is difficult for SMEs to make their opinions heard.

In order to give them an opportunity to express themselves, and so as to implement in practice the ‘Think Small First’ principle set out in the European Charter for Small Enterprises adopted by the Santa Maria de Feira European Council in June 2000, the European Commission decided to appoint an SME Envoy.

Internally, the Envoy’s role is to improve the Commission's awareness of the problems facing SMEs. The Envoy examines EU polices that could have an impact on SMEs and ensures that their interests and specific needs are taken into account during policy-making.

The Envoy's task is part of the impact assessment system intended to ensure that the Commission’s proposals are subject to prior evaluation of their economic, environmental and social effects. The key contribution of the SME Envoy is to argue SMEs’ case at an early stage of the law-making process and thus anticipate the effects of new laws.

In this way, the Envoy’s work increases coordination within the Commission on issues concerning SMEs.

Externally, the Envoy is a visible contact person who is recognised by the SME community. The Envoy’s role is to listen, by means of direct contact, both regular and informal, with SMEs and their representative organisations. Besides gathering information, the Envoy keeps SMEs informed on EU programmes and funding and can answer their questions directly. By establishing dialogue between the EU and European business, the Envoy contributes to improving governance in Europe.

The first SME Envoy was nominated in 2001.

The current EU SME Envoy is Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Member of the European Commission for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.


For more information, see:

‘SME Envoys Network’ on the European Commission's website.


Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - ‘Think Small First’ - A ‘Small Business Act’ for Europe (COM(2008) 394 final, 25.6.2008)

You can contact the EU's SME Envoy at the following address: SME Envoy European Commission, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Unit GROW.H1 – COSME Programme and SME Envoy Network B-1049 Brussels Belgium or by e-mail:

last update 01.12.2016