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Glossary of summaries

Glossary of summaries

SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES

Commission recommendation 2003/361 defines small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as companies whose staff numbers and profits fall below certain limits:

  • a medium-sized company has up to 250 employees, a turnover of up to €50 million or a balance sheet total of up to €43 million;
  • a small company has up to 50 employees and a turnover or balance sheet total of up to €10 million;
  • a micro-company has up to 10 employees and a turnover or balance sheet total of up to €2 million.

There are over 20 million SMEs in the EU. Accounting for for 99% of businesses and 2 out of every 3 private sector jobs, they are a key driver of the economy.

While the EU encourages the use of this definition of SMEs as a reference, it is binding only for certain matters, such as State aid, implementing structural funds or EU programmes.

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