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European Economy: Future of SMEs: Europe’s economic powerhouses

Small and medium businesses (SMEs) are the heart of Europe’s economy but some have not survived the financial crisis and many others have had to innovate to have any kind of a future. Real Economy travelled to Italy to meet some of those who have risen to that challenge, often tapping into new sources of financing when lending from the banking sector was drying up.

There are some 21 million SMEs in Europe, supplying about 85% of jobs. All that entrepreneurship allows Europe to control one fifth of world trade and that’s why it’s so important to understand these economic powerhouses and why they are so critical.

It works something like this: Jack has a micro-sized glass making company, which employs less than 10 people and makes around two million euros a year. Jack then supplies his glass to Greg’s small company which makes mosaics – Greg has earnings of less than 10 million and fewer than 50 employees. Greg then sells his mosaics to Linda who is a medium-sized mosaic and tile seller. She has 250 people or less on her payroll and her business makes 50 million euros.

However, if any of them are taken over, linked to or partnered with a large company, or are 50% owned by universities or local authorities they may no longer be considered SMEs. Jack, Greg, Linda and others like them create 2 out of every 3 jobs in Europe. Companies like theirs make up 9 out of 10 businesses in Europe, creating the value added that drives our growth.

Read more: Future of SMEs: Europe’s economic powerhouses | euronews, real economy

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