99% of businesses across Europe are affected by the Small Business Act (SBA). Now, the European Commission is calling for SME owners to give their opinions on how EU-wide laws can better serve the business community.
“As Europe continues on the road to recovery, we need to ensure the EU’s Small Business Act is still fit for purpose,” said Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship. To help achieve that goal, Feroci is asking representatives from the European SME community to submit their views to a 12 week public consultation, which will be open until 15th December 2014.
The SBA is made up of five “pillars,” which relate to access to finance, access to markets, entrepreneurship and improving regulation. As a next step, the Commission proposes to introduce a fifth pillar, which will focus on addressing skills gaps in EU economies.
Luc Hendriks, Director of Enterprise Policy for UEAPME, which represents the interests of SMEs at EU level, said that, while organisation has “no problem” with these areas remaining the core focus of the SBA, more effort should be made to recognise the extreme diversity of industries and sectors in which SMEs are represented. “We would like the SBA to be more effective when considering the heterogeneity of the SME sector, as there are many markets that SMEs are involved in,” he said. “We need to see better representation of this from the organisations in the process.”
Last year, for the first time since the financial crisis, the number of people employed by SMEs increased across the EU.