Guide

Choosing the right structure for doing business in Europe

The Small Businesses Act

The Small Business Act (SBA) for Europe has created a small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) policy framework for the European Union (EU).

The SBA is a set of ten principles that will help to balance rules for SMEs throughout the EU. This will be done through implementing policies at EU and national level.

Aims of the SBA

The SBA has several aims that it uses to allow SMEs to succeed, to reward entrepreneurship and to increase finance options.

Create an environment for SMEs to succeed and reward entrepreneurship

New entrepreneurs will be able to use cross-border mobility, and spend time at an SME in a different country. Find information on the Erasmus for young entrepreneurs scheme.

Entrepreneurs who have been made bankrupt will also be given another chance.

Follow the 'Think Small First' principle

All new legislative and administrative proposals at European and national level must be assessed for their impact on SMEs. If the impact is negative, member states must consider other factors to improve proposals, such as:

  • derogations
  • transition periods
  • exemptions

Find information on the 'Think Small First' principle.

Adapt public policy for SMEs

A new code of best practice for public procurement will make it easier for SMEs to apply for public procurement contracts. The code of practice aims to:

  • contain information on public contracts
  • explain how to bid on-line
  • reduce excessive financial requirements
  • reduce paperwork

It will also introduce:

  • increased levels of state aid for smaller companies
  • simplified rules for SME state aid
  • the ability for national governments to provide aid without notify the European Commission of this support
  • increased possibilities for state aid

Increase SME finance options

The European Investment Bank Group is increasing its financial products that are available to SMEs. The Commission will also make funds available for micro-credit and access to cross-border venture capital will be facilitated.