The concepts described on these pages are words and expressions used in statistics with a specific, limited meaning. In everyday speech the word may have a different meaning. In connection with each definition you can find information about which sets of statistics use the concept.

If you are looking for statistical figures, go from the definition to the statistics page.

Small and medium size enterprises

1. Small and medium sized enterprises, hereafter SMEs, are defined as enterprises,
- with fewer than 250 paid employees
and whose
- annual turnover is either not more than EUR 50 million
- or balance sheet total is not more than EUR 43 million
- and which meet the criterion on independence under section 3 of the definition.

2. When small enterprises must be differentiated from medium sized enterprises
a 'small enterprise' is defined as an enterprise
- with fewer than 50 paid employees
and whose
- annual turnover is either not more than EUR 10 million
- or balance sheet total is not more than EUR 10 million
- and which meets the criterion on independence under section 3 of the definition.

3. Independent enterprises are enterprises of whose equity or voting stock
25 per cent or more are not held by one enterprise
or jointly held by such enterprises to which
either the definition of an SME or of a small enterprise cannot be applied depending on the circumstances.



Statistics using the definition

Validity of the definition

  • Valid until (31 December 2078)

1. Small and medium sized enterprises, hereafter SMEs, are defined as enterprises,
- which have fewer than 250 paid employees
and whose
- annual turnover is either not more than EUR 40 million
- or balance sheet total is not more than EUR 27 million
- and which meet the criterion on independence under section 3 of this definition.

2. When small enterprises must be differentiated from medium sized enterprises
a 'small enterprise' is defined as an enterprise
- which has fewer than 50 paid employees
and whose
- annual turnover is either not more than EUR 7 million
- or balance sheet total is not more than EUR 5 million
- and which meets the criterion on independence under section 3 of this definition.

3. Independent enterprises are enterprises of whose equity or voting stock
25 per cent or more are not held by one enterprise
or jointly held by such enterprises to which
either the definition of an SME or of a small enterprise cannot be applied depending on the circumstances.



Validity of the definition

  • 1 January 1900 - 5 May 2003

Source organisation

  • EU

Related concepts

Source organisation

  • EU

Related concepts


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