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Small Business Act has seen some successes

Small Business Act has seen some successes, but more needs to be done says review

Member states need to step up their efforts in support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurship, according to a review of progress in implementing the Small Business Act (SBA), which came into force in 2008.
Although all Member States have acknowledged the importance of a rapid implementation of the SBA, the approach taken and the results achieved vary considerably between from country to country, says the review.
Yet Europe’s 2020 strategy and its economy heavily rely on SMEs, with some 23 million small businesses employing 67 per cent of the private sector workforce. Between 2008 and 2010 the Commission and Member States implemented actions set out in the SBA that have reduced red tape, made it easier for SMEs to access finance and supported access to new markets.
But although most initiatives in the SBA have been set in train, a review of implementation so far reveals that more must be done to help SMEs.

Successful SBA Initiatives since 2008
Around 100,000 SMEs have benefited from the financial instruments of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, creating more than 100,000 jobs.
The late payment directive now requires public authorities to pay their suppliers within 30 days, improving the cash flow of businesses.
In most EU Member States the time and cost of setting up a company has been considerably reduced, lowering the EU average for a private limited company from twelve days and €485 in 2007 to seven days and €399 in 2010.
Streamlined online procedures and opportunities for joint bidding have made participation in public procurement easier for SMEs.
An EU SME Centre has been set up in China to help SME access the Chinese markets.
Giving fresh impetus to the SBA

Following publication of the review yesterday (23 February) the Commission said it is determined to continue to give priority to SMEs, proposing further action in a number of priority areas:
Improved access to finance;
Access to loan guarantees for SMEs through strengthened loan guarantee schemes;
Action plan for improving SMEs’ access to finance, including access to venture capital markets, as well as targeted measures aimed at making investors more aware of the opportunities offered by SMEs;
Allow all banks, independent of size, to easily implement EIB loans and EU instruments.
Smart regulation to enable SMEs to concentrate on core business
Development of “points of single contact” in Member States to facilitate administrative procedures;
Quantified targets for reduced "gold plating", - the practice of national bodies to exceed the terms of EU directives when translating them into national law.
Making full use of the Single Market
Proposal for a common consolidated corporate tax base;
Measures to facilitate cross-border debt recovery;
Revision of the European standardisation system making standards more SME-friendly and easily accessible



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