SMEs embracing sustainable and digital business models despite various challenges

The Commission published the 2022 SME Performance Report. It concludes that last year Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been shifting to more sustainable and digital business models despite dealing with difficult challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and now also with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The report also highlights the risks of rapidly rising prices of energy and raw materials, new supply shortages and rising inflation at a time when implementing the green and digital transitions is particularly crucial.  Commissioner Thierry Breton, responsible for the Single Market, said: “Today’s SME Report confirms that Europe’s SMEs have remained firmly on the path of their green and digital transitions, drawing on the Single Market, while navigating subsequent crises and supply chain disruptions. To be better equipped for the next crisis, we will present this autumn a new emergency instrument to better support our businesses – including SMEs – in times of crisis, increase their resilience and protect the Single Market.” This year’s report notes that in 2021, SMEs represented 99.8% of all companies in the EU, generating 51.8% of total value added in the non-financial business economy and accounted for 64.4% of total employment in the EU. This year’s report confirms last year’s trend, with growth recorded both in terms of their value added (by 8% in non-financial sector) and employment (by 0.5%). SMEs also continue investing in green and digital transformation processes and viewing sustainability as an opportunity, with almost 90% of SMEs reporting actions to improve their resource efficiency.  Since its launch in 2008, the SME Performance Review is the Commission’s main tool to monitor and assess Member States’ and partner countries’ progress in implementing the EU SME Strategy. The report’s findings will be presented at the Internal Market and SME conference organised jointly by the French Presidency of the Council of the EU and the Commission taking place in Paris today. The full 2022 Annual report and the SME country factsheets are available online.