Looking at SMEs from all sides
The Observatory of European SMEs, established and funded by the European Commission, has been reporting on Europe's SMEs for nine years. Now, to get its message over, it has abandoned generic annual reporting in favour of a series of thematic reports that enable policy-makers to better understand how SMEs operate and how they differ in member states. Rob van der Horst, project director of the Observatory, talks to Euroabstracts.
Relying on SMEs for jobs growth
The EU is home to 20 million SMEs - one for every 19 of us - and they are its main dynamo for growth. Yet we know too little about how they operate. Research is beginning to put that right, and rightly so, because SMEs account for two-thirds of European jobs, half of turnover and almost all of its enterprises. They are if anything even more important for the successful integration of 13 more countries into the EU.
Clustering for growth
One of the SME Observatory's key reports looks at regional clusters, recognising that support for them is now a valuable tool which policy-makers in several member states use to foster economic development.
SMEs with a social conscience
Businesses do not have to be big to act on social and environmental concerns. More than half of SMEs are involved in socially responsible causes. They are motivated by ethics, but find they gain business benefits.