SMEs in Europe generate half of the intra-EU trade in goods
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) generate half the value of the intra-EU trade in goods, according to data from Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU.
The information highlights the importance of SMEs to the European economy both in terms of job creation and economic growth.
Leading the way are SMEs in Cyprus, Latvia, Belgium, Estonia, and the Netherlands, which in 2015 generated more than two-thirds of the total value of intra-EU exports of goods.
However SMEs in Ireland are at the opposite end of the scale, part of the group of Member States where SMEs account for less than one third of the intra-EU export value.
Also in this group are SMEs in France, Germany, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Finland.
Overall, 98pc of companies trading goods within the EU are SMEs – that is companies that employ up to 250 people.
Of the SMEs in Europe, 70pc are micro-enterprises, that is companies with up to nine people employed.
Earlier this month the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) tripled the lending capacity of an Irish SME programme to €330m.
The latest enlarged lending means that from next year an expected 10,000 Irish companies in all sectors will have access to support under the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) project.