European SMEs with international ambitions remain optimistic in regard to short-term growth, and expect to create new jobs and increase their turnover in 2020 according to a new study 'SME growth outlook 2019-2020' published by the Enterprise Europe Network in November 2019 and based on data provided by companies that have been supported by the Enterprise Europe Network. The country with the most optimistic SMEs is Estonia, while levels well above the average were recorded for Greece, Sweden and Romania.
Specifically, the study highlighted the following characteristics for European SMEs:
1. Turnover prospects remain positive. 59% of internationally active SMEs expect an increase in turnover in the next 12 months. The largest proportion of companies expecting growth in turnover was recorded in Estonia (87%), while lower expectations in Croatia and Luxembourg (41%).
2. Stability in new jobs creation. 30% of SMEs seeking business growth across national borders, said they will create new jobs within the next year. The Estonian SMEs (57%) have the highest expectations for new jobs while SMEs in Slovakia (6%) were less optimistic.
3. Cautious optimism for market shares. 49% of SMEs interested in doing business internationally, expect to increase their market share over the next 12 months.
4. Reduction of costs for development and internationalisation. 81% of small businesses have received help from Enterprise Europe Network to reduce their costs when entering new markets. In this respect, SMEs in Estonia were the most optimistic(74%), while more cautious in terms of short-term growth prospects are SMEs from Belgium and France (34%).
5. Satisfied customers. 88% of customers expressed satisfaction with the Enterprise Europe Network services, while 92% would recommend the network services to other businesses
The following facts show the real value of the Enterprise Europe Network for SMEs: every year, the Enterprise Europe Network helps more than 175,000 businesses to innovate and grow. In 2018, the number of SMEs which benefited amounted to 176,932, while since its foundation in 2008, it has supported more than 3 million SMEs across Europe.
The Enterprise Europe Network is the largest network worldwide to support business and promote entrepreneurship and innovation. Aimed at SMEs with international ambitions who want to enhance their competitiveness and outreachthrough innovation. It has more than 4,000 qualified employees in 600 organisations, covering more than 60 countries. It acts as a single point of contact for businesses, provides specialised services to develop new products and access new markets and provides information on EU activities and opportunities that arise.
The Greek performance
The results of the study showed that Greece is performing well. In 2018, the Greek node of the network, Enterprise Europe Network - Hellas, provided the following services: 3,501 firms received consulting services, 436 SMEs participated in business meetings and missions, 3,656 SMEs benefited from information and training events, while 50 SMEs benefited from innovation support packages.
Compared to the European averages, Greece’s performance was stronger due to the support of the Enterprise Europe Network – Hellas. Specifically, 77% of Greek SMEs expect to increase their turnover in 2020, 63% expect to increase their market share, while 42% expect to create new jobs.
ΕΚΤ and Εnterprise Europe Network
The Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas, the Greek node of the the Enterprise Europe Network, is the largest Greek business support network and consists of industrial associations, research and technological institutions, chambers of commerce and acclaimed actors in the field of innovation and SMEs .
As co-ordinator of the Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas, EKT helps innovative and outward-oriented Greek enterprises to gain access to new markets and finance so as to exploit their research results and technologies / products. It provides personalised services for innovation management and scaling up businesses, informs about European policies,the functioning of the European market and available financing opportunities. It also gives SMEs the opportunity to participate in consultations on future initiatives. These services include international business, technology and research partnerships, knowledge exchange and technology transfer, participation in business missions and brokerage events.
In addition, EKT is the National Contact Point for 'Horizon 2020' for research and innovation, providing the Greek research community with a range of integrated services for proposal submission and participation in the programme.