August 03, 2012 - Kasia
The EU is planning a new event to help SMEs “go for growth” bringing together small businesses, business organisations, European, national and regional government, academia and the media. Cyprus, as EU presidency, is to host the first ever European SME Assembly in Nicosia on 15 and 16 November 2012.
Neoklis Sylikiotis, Cypriot minister of commerce, industry and tourism, said: “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.”
The European Union has already successfully rolled out the Small Business Act, the SME policy framework, at member state level. At the assembly, delegates will take part in discussions and workshops with SMEs and organisations that have worked successfully to promote small businesses. In addition, the annual European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony will be held, recognising organisations that have promoted entrepreneurship at national, regional or local level over the past year.
The EU is home to more than 20 million SMEs and they account for more than 99% of businesses in Europe. Over the past five years, SMEs have provided two-thirds of total private employment and 80% of new jobs created across the EU.
The assembly will focus on: encouraging young and women entrepreneurs; access to finance; access to national, EU and international markets; opportunities in the green economy; growth in the current economic situation; and better rules for business.
The conference will also hear from SMEs that are bucking the trend and identify lessons that can be drawn to help others emulate their success. The European Enterprise Promotion Awards — launched in 2006 — recognise those organisations that help to promote entrepreneurship.