SME Small and medium-sized enterprises

= Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) currently make up around 99% of all companies in the European Union and provide jobs for around 65 million people. They are therefore the predominant size of company. SMEs in the EU generate around 50% of taxable turnover, employ about two thirds of all employees and train about 85% of apprentices.
In 2005, the EU defined the following definitions of SMEs:
- Medium-sized companies: 50 to 249 employees, turnover of €10 to €50 million or balance sheet total of up to €43 million
- Small enterprises: up to 49 employees, turnover up to €10 million or balance sheet total up to €10 million.
There are currently no definitions for medium-sized companies with 250 to 500 employees or more.
SMEs are one of the key sources of innovation. Because of their limited access to "fresh" capital, they receive special support from the state and the EU. Small companies are subject to special provisions regarding occupational safety, health protection and co-determination.
Many medium-sized companies are family-owned. These are mostly not focused on short-term returns, but rather plan for the long term. Owners and employees share a special relationship of trust and long-term commitment. Intensive contact with (often regular) customers promotes the development of new products as well as service.
Many German medium-sized companies are also very successful globally, and are even international market leaders for many products, often with a unique selling point.

See also:
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Economic Crime; Corporate Integration; Enterprise Resource Planning
Reference to QET guidelines:
Quality 20; Ethics 20; Transparency 20
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