The European Commission defines micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU Recommendation 2003/361. According to this, SMEs have up to 249 employees and an annual turnover not exceeding € 50 million or a balance sheet total not exceeding € 43 million.
SME thresholds of the EU since 1 January 2005
in € p.a.
total in €r
|Micro||up to 9||up to 2 million||up to 2 million|
|Small||up to 49||up to 10 million||up to 10 million|
|Medium-sized||up to 249||up to 50 million||up to 43 million|
|SME overall||under 250||up to 50 million||up to 43 million|
These threshold values apply to individual enterprises (defined as legal units). If the company is part of a larger enterprise group, the SME status depends on the aggregated values for the entire group.
The EU uses the above mentioned SME definition (including the independence criterion) when deciding about access to funds and EU funding programmes targeted at SMEs.
For statistical/empirical analyses, the EU defines different subgroups of SMEs by their employment and turnover size
- Micro enterprises: up to 9 employees and up to €2 million turnover p.a.
- Small enterprises: up to 49 employees and up to €10 million turnover p.a. (excluding micro enterprises)
- Medium-sized enterprises: up to 249 employees and up to €50 million turnover p.a. (excluding micro and small enterprises).
Due to a lack of corresponding data, EU SME statistics (still) do not consider linkages between SMEs and company groups.