8 September, Brussels – The European Commission has opened an online consultation on upgrading the EU’s Small Business Act (SBA). The SBA contains a wide-range of measures designed to make life easier for SMEs, and is being updated in order to ensure that SMEs are able to contribute fully to economic recovery in Europe.
The SBA is built upon exchange of best practices, access to finance, and support for internationalisation and entrepreneurship, and encourages EU states to take-up SME support measures that have worked elsewhere.
European level business organisations and national government SMES representatives have already agreed that the four existing pillars of the SBA should remain:
- Access to finance: Even with some indication of a more positive outlook, SMEs are still much in need of affordable solutions for their financing needs;
- Access to markets / internationalisation: For SMEs to grow new markets need to be explored;
- Entrepreneurship: continued support for potential entrepreneurs is crucial because of continuing levels of high unemployment especially among young people;
- Better regulation: the reduction of administrative burdens continues to remain an important target, despite progress already made in this area.
To close the skills gap felt in many of Europe’s economies it was also agreed to add a fifth pillar to make EU SME policy even more stable:
- Training and skills of entrepreneurs and staff: for the economy to grow entrepreneurs need skills themselves and skilled staff.
The Commission’s consultation seeks further input from all interested parties and is open until 15 December 2014.