EU to Stage European SME Assembly
Cyprus, as the country holding the EU presidency, will host the first ever European SME Assembly this November. The event aims to put Europe’s small and medium-sized businesses at the forefront of the next round of policy-making.
To be staged in Nicosia, Cyprus, on the 15th and 16th of November, the European SME Assembly will see the coming together of SMEs, business organisations, regional and national governments, academia and the media to forge a pathway for EU firms to "Go for Growth".
The European Union, recognising that the 20 million small and medium-sized businesses can drive growth in the Eurozone, are giving firms the chance to help shape the policies that will affect them directly. 99% of the EU’s businesses are SMEs and they employ 85% of Europe’s workforce.
Having successfully adopted the Small Business Act (SBA) and the SME policy framework in 2008, the Assembly is a clear and logical next step from the EC in pushing ahead with its "Think Small First" principle.
Delegates at the European SME Assembly will be addressing some of the most critical issues facing small businesses today, including:
- Access to business finance
- Access to markets, both in Europe and international
- Encouraging new entrepreneurs, particularly women and youth
- Better business regulation
- Green economic opportunities and
- Growth opportunies in the economic downturn
Successful SMEs will share the lessons of their achievements so that other firms can follow in their footsteps. By sharing business ideas the assembly is hoped to encourage and stimulate a new wave of European entrepreneurs.
The Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Neoklis Sylikiotis, was upbeat about the forthcoming EU SME Assembly, saying:
“SMEs now more than ever hold the key to boosting growth across Europe. The assembly will provide a great opportunity to address some of the most critical issues facing small businesses and to share ideas and policy initiatives that have succeeded in encouraging SME growth. Here in Cyprus, SMEs account for 99% of businesses, so Nicosia seems an appropriate setting for the first European SME assembly.”
Cyprus itself has an interesting business demographic, being "dominated" by small businesses. almost 99.9% of enterprises in Cyprus are SMEs.
The European SME Assembly will close with the annual European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony where the winners of 5 categories will be announced each recognising European leaders in entrepreneurship.