Small Medium Enterprises

SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises)

  • SMEs employ under 250 people and play a vital part in the economy of most Countries.
  • SMEs – UK
  • In 2004, the DTI estimated that of the 4.3 million business enterprises in the UK, 99.9% were small to medium sized.
  • At the start of 2004, SMEs accounted for:
  • more than half (58%) of all UK employment (small enterprises accounting for 46.8%; medium-sized enterprises accounting for 11.7%);
  • more than half (51.3%) of the UK’s estimated business turnover of £2,400billion (small enterprises accounting for 37%; medium-sized enterprises accounting for 14.3%).

SMEs – Europe

  • In the European Union, SMEs are seen as largely essential for European employment.
  • Each year, one million new SMEs set up in the European Union.
  • SMEs account for 99.8% of all companies and 65% of business turnover in the European Union.

SMEs – Latin America

  • Latin American politicians are beginning to realise that SMEs are the true job creators, as well as important players in technology supply chains.
  • Governments have vastly reduced red tape to ensure SMEs’ needs are attended to swiftly.
  • The majority of Chile’s SMEs are micros, which are defined as having a turnover of less than $75,000.
  • The number of SMEs has increased by 50,000 since 2001. This now equates to 95% of total employment. (Chilean Economic Development Agency, 2005)

SMEs – America

  • There are approximately 23 million small businesses in the US.
  • These altogether employ more than 50 % of the private workforce.
  • It generates more than half of the nation’s gross domestic product.

Some of the world’s best-performing economies, notably Taiwan and Hong Kong, are very heavily based on small enterprises.

  • In Hong Kong in 2005, a total of almost 270,000 SMEs accounted for over 50% of employment, providing job opportunities to almost 1.2 million people. The majority of enterprises were in the services sector, specifically import and export, and wholesale and retail trade. (Government of Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department, 2006)
  • In Japan, where SMEs are defined as establishments employing between four and 299 employees with a turnover of less than 100 million yen, they represented 99.7% of all enterprises, with retail and manufacturing being the most popular industries.
  • Organisation for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, Japan (SMRJ)

SMEs – Africa

  • SMEs are flourishing in Africa.
  • In Nigeria – SMEs are the backbone to the economy.
  • 97% of all businesses in Nigeria employ less than 100 employees. (Federal Office of Statistics)
  • Looking at our earlier definition of SMEs, it means that 97% of all businesses in Nigeria are "small businesses". The SME sector provides, on average, 50% of Nigeria’s employment, and 50% of its industrial output.
  • In much of the developing world, the private economy almost entirely comprises SMEs. In many cases, they are the only realistic employment opportunity for communities.

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