The numbers presented in this post are roughly equivalent for the UK and the EU.
SMEs are essential because they are the economy.
The news and most powers-that-be tend to focus on the big names: banks, car manufacturers, pharma, GAFAM and so on. In fact, the really big picture is that most of us work for, with or are a small or medium company, as defined here.
Let’s get a bit more quantitative: More than 99% of all the existing, active businesses are SMEs. We’re talking about 25.1 million businesses in the EU in 2018, and about 5.9 millions in the UK at the start of 2020. Finally, the most crucial number of all doesn’t vary, neither with time nor Brexit: SMEs employs around 2/3 of active adults.
Maybe “Small and Medium” should be “Small but Mighty”…
Of course, the phrase itself, “Small and Medium Entreprises” hides a huge variety in their legal structure, headcount or nature of the work. The plumbers and electricians who visit our homes are SMEs, as are the independent convenience stores, cafés and solicitor practices.
Also, some companies are start-ups, some are a couple centuries old. Some are a University spin off, born thanks to a fruitful research project, and others are family businesses. Some are very small, maybe 5 people including the founder, and some will soon become a large company of more than 250 employees. They can be independent, or they can belong to a larger group of companies.
When you think about it though, this diversity is natural. It reflects the way people socialize, communicate and work together; how they find the most effective and cost-effective ways to do so.
So… how do we find the SMEs that interest us, those that operate in the Scientific, Technological or Engineering sector? With imagination.