Articles - The Importance of SMEs to EU Member States

Cicero Brussels today launches its latest Special Report on the EU Green Paper on access to venture capital for SMEs.

 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are of crucial importance to EU Member States as a sector that can provide real growth and returns in the current challenging economic times. The Commission made explicit reference to the sector in its 2020 Strategy, and latterly, the Single European Act.  The importance of providing this funding, and ensuring access to continual funding throughout the life of these firms is a policy issue that will not disappear any time soon. Funding for these firms is essential at all stages - from inception to those crucial points where firms are
 targeting the next growth stage.
 Cicero Brussels Regional Director Helena Walsh commented:  
 “There are few, if any, Member States who are not looking to the SME community to assist in growing their respective economies out of the recession. Supporting innovation is therefore a key aspect of this growth strategy. At a time when bank lending is tight and grants diminishing, the importance of venture capital at SME level is clear. However to date finance support indicators for venture capital are very poor.  This was clearly demonstrated in the European Union Innovation Scoreboards released in February this year. Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Germany are known as leaders in the innovation world, while the Eastern Member States such as Bulgaria, Latvia, and Lithuania are struggling at the bottom end of the class.  
 There is a need for speedy solutions and reform to fully open up a true single market for venture capital. Whether this entails modifying AIFMD or creating a separate framework for registration and recognition with competent authorities in Member States, it is a shame that the Commission’s questions do not seek to concentrate minds on finding a quick and proportionate solution.  The consultation closes in August, but don’t expect reform any time

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