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European SME Week 2010 kicks off

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Vice President Antonio Tajani has launched the European SME Week 2010 in Brussels today. This pan-European campaign is designed to promote and support entrepreneurship. Over 3 million people are estimated to participate in the some 1261 events and activities that are being organised in 37 countries across Europe.

It will showcase the support available to business at the European, national, regional and local level. At events SMEs and micro-firms can share experiences and develop their businesses. There is also a special focus on promoting entrepreneurship as a career option, especially for younger people. Some countries will run company open days, which will provide an insight into the challenges and rewards of running a business. The winners of the European Entrepreneurship Video Award 2010 will be honoured at a ceremony in Brussels tonight. European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: " Small and medium sized enterprises run by dynamic entrepreneurs are the job generators of Europe. In rough times we need them more than ever to get the European economy going. Against the backdrop of today’s precarious trends, decisive and comprehensive policy support is vital.”

With the onset of the economic crisis in 2008, a very positive development of small and medium enterprises (SME) has come to a halt. Between 2002 and 2008, SMEs in the EU turned out to be the most important European Economy job engine. With 9.4 million jobs created between 2002 and 2008 SMEs outperformed large firms. This is in sharp contrast to an estimated loss of 3.25 million jobs in the SME sector over 2009 and 2010 further to the annual SME report 2010. In light of the rather testing times ahead, an effective policy response is crucial in helping SMEs to be successful. The European SME week launched today is an important step in this respect.

During this week, the European Commission will showcase the support available to business at the European, national, regional and local level and the important role that the Enterprise Europe Network plays in each country with its 600 partner organisations which provide information and advisory services to SMEs and help them find business partners.

The European Commission's Small Business Act for Europe (SBA), adopted in 2008, is the key policy instrument which sets out an ambitious agenda for action both in the Member States and at the EU level in favour of entrepreneurship and SMEs. It aims at developing an environment within which entrepreneurship is rewarded, such as:

  • Introducing entrepreneurship education an integral part of the curriculum at all stages of education in Member States.
  • Stimulating exchange of skills and mutual learning among young entrepreneurs through the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs scheme
  • Promoting female entrepreneurship through the network of Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors.

The swift implementation of the actions of the SBA is of utmost importance to help SMEs resuming their role as job engine of our economies as quickly as possible. European SME Week 2010 will offer the possibility to highlight the actions that each country has taken to implement the SBA and make life easier for SMEs.

First held in 2009, European SME Week is now central to the European Commission’s actions to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

More information in 21 languages on European SME Week 2010

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