SMEs are independent companies with fewer than 250 employees.
They provide two out of every three private sector jobs in the European Union and are responsible for 85% of new jobs created. SMEs account for 67% of total employment and 58% of gross value added (GVA).
Latest research shows that SMEs continue to form the bedrock of the European economy, with some 20.6 million companies employing more than 87 million people. SMEs account for more than 99.8% of all enterprises.
Micro companies – defined as enterprises with fewer than 10 employees – represent the biggest share of enterprise in the EU (92%).
The European Enterprise Promotion Awards recognises and celebrates organisations and initiatives that use ground breaking, creative ways to help to create and sustain Europe’s SME and entrepreneurship community.
Category | Grand Jury Prize
A special prize awarded to the entrepreneurial initiative considered the most creative and inspiring in Europe.
Think Small First – Introduction to Micro Companies in Latvia
The Latvian Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) developed Think Small First to help bring Latvia out of the economic crisis.
The initiative has helped micro-enterprises by promoting the creation of a special tax rate and simplified tax accounting system. It has also introduced a micro-credit programme and has made information about launching a business available in one place.
The LCCI has played one of the leading roles in discussions held in the Latvian Parliament, the Saeima. This included initiating amendments of laws to enable implementation of the concept of micro-enterprises. Through support from the Ministry of Economy, the Saeima supported the Micro-Enterprise Tax Law, which came into effect on 1st September 2010. In addition, improvement of the regulatory framework is ongoing, thus providing support to the smallest enterprises.
As a result of this initiative, a total of 28,000 enterprises have utilised the simplified tax accounting system and the number of micro-enterprises in Latvia is continuing to grow.
Overall, the introduction of the concept of micro-enterprises in Latvia has helped to further the country’s rapid economic growth within the European Union and provide a favourable climate for small businesses to operate.
Lita Kokale, Head of Public Relations
Krišjāņa Valdemāra Iela 35
Category | Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Recognising actions that promote an entrepreneurial culture and mindset. Raising awareness about entrepreneurship in society.
MyCity, The Finnish Economic Information Office, Finland
The MyCity learning entity is a miniature city, built from mobile wall elements, and includes at least 15 different local and regional enterprises and public services. Students work within his or her own trade in the city and receive wages. They also act as consumers and citizens of the society. Approximately 70 pupils work at the same time at the MyCity site. MyCity, sponsored by the Finish Ministry of Education and Culture, operates in eight different municipalities and 24,000 sixth graders and 1,000 teachers have visited the sites.
Tomi Alakoski, Executive Director
Category | Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills
Recognises regional or local initiatives to improve entrepreneurial, vocational, technical and managerial skills.
Senior Enterprise, The Mid East Regional Authority, Ireland
Senior Enterprise is specifically designed to encourage a greater involvement with enterprise by those aged 50 and over and to raise awareness of their potential to start a business, acquire or invest in a business started by someone else, or to become a volunteer mentor. To date almost 1,000 individuals over 50 years of age, who have received support from Senior Enterprise in Ireland, the UK and France, have set up new businesses.
John Byrne, Director
Category | Improving the Business Environment
Recognising measures to simplify administrative procedures for businesses, particularly for start-ups.
Starters’ Agreement for Entrepreneurs
The Belgium Starters’ Agreement helps aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to succeed. Entrepreneurs enter into a starters’ agreement with the City of Ghent, Belgium, to draft a business plan, appeal for professional advice and specialist guidance, follow training and development courses and to continue the independent business activity for at least three years in Ghent. With this contract, entrepreneurs can receive support of a maximum of €5,000 for education, professional guidance and investment. All start-ups that have been established as independent enterprises in Ghent for less than two years can apply for a starter’s agreement. One of the most important objectives of the agreement is to increase the success rate of starting companies during their first years and to prevent failures. To date, a total of 171 starters’ agreements have received a positive recommendation by the evaluation committee, with 166 of these approved by the Council of the Mayor and aldermen.
Ria Dossche, Advisor
Category | Supporting the Internationalisation of Business
Recognises policies to encourage enterprises and particularly small and medium-sized businesses to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets both inside and outside the European Union.
Portuguese Shoes: The Sexiest Industry in Europe, Portuguese Association of Footwear Industries, Components, Leather Goods and their Substitutes, Portugal
The Portuguese footwear industry exports more than 95% of its production to the most demanding international markets. In order to allow the sector to continue to take firm steps in a competitive international environment, the APICCAPS, a national business association, with the support of the Compete Programme, has taken various measures to promote Portuguese footwear. The current campaign has helped to promote around 120 SMEs at professional events all around the world. A campaign symbol for Portuguese shoes was developed using the slogan ‘Portuguese Shoes: Designed by the Future’. The image promotes a mark of quality and seeks to establish Portuguese Shoes as a sophisticated innovation. As a result of this strategy, footwear exports have grown more than 20% in the past two years.
Paulo Gonçalves, Director of Communication
Category | Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency
Recognises policies and initiatives at national, regional or local level that support SME access to green markets and help to improve their resource efficiency through, for example, green skills development and matchmaking as well as funding.
The Town of Gürsu Developing with Unlimited Clean Energy, Municipality of Gürsu, Turkey
Key aims of the Town of Gürsu project are to increase the use of green energy in Gürsu to prevent environmental pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels, to save energy used for municipal services and to help socio-economic development of the town. Since the initiative began, four innovative applications have been configured, tested and applied. A photovoltaic solar energy plant was developed and Gürsu is now well-known for using clean solar energy in all of its service areas. The project aims to enable Turkey to take a leading role in renewable energy investments at both regional and national levels. Since the project began, Gürsu has obtained 40% of its electricity needs from the sun in the 5 months of winter and 100% in the 7 summer months.
Hüseyun Özmen, Strategic Planning Division Manager
Category | Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Recognises regional or local actions promoting corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices.
Integration of Disadvantaged People , AV Mobilita s.r.o., Slovakia
AV Mobilita s.r.o. is a sheltered workshop specialising in integrating disabled people into all areas of life. As a pilot organisation, it focused on car repairs and it now co-ordinates other sheltered workshops forming part of the Škoda Handy Disabled Persons Project in Bratislava, Prešov, Banská Bystrica and Žilina. It participates in the cultural, social and sporting activities of Associations of Registered Disabled Persons throughout Slovakia. The scheme has facilitated the smooth integration of disabled people into society through mediation of special-priced vehicle sales and through comprehensive theoretical and practical training of applicants seeking a licence to drive a car. In 2009, the workshop received an award from the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic for the integration of disabled persons into the workplace.
Klaudia Valušková, Owner of Auto Valušek