Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 126

5 years on from Small Business Act: SME Assembly confirms progress

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 28 novembre 2013

Vilnius, Lithuania. A highlight of the Lithuanian EU presidency, the 2013 SME Assembly officially began on 24 November 2013 in Vilnius, Lithuania. Concluding today, the SME Assembly discussed the key challenges faced by SMEs across the EU. With over 550 delegates, representing the over 20 million SMEs in the EU, the Assembly brought together SMEs; business organisations; European, national and regional government; the SME Envoys, academia and the media to discuss how to help ‘Encourage a Europe of Enterprise.’During the SME Assembly, the SME Envoys met to discuss the work programme moving forward to 2014, along with the key issues facing Europe’s small businesses – access to finance, internationalisation and the importance of entrepreneurial education and skills.Daniel Calleja, Director General of DG Enterprise and EU SME Envoy commented on the Assembly:“I am pleased with the progress that we have made in terms of the Small Business Act for Europe. In the past five years, we have accomplished a lot, such as the strengthening of the Programme for the Competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs, which we announced at the first ever SME Assembly, last year. We should be proud of what we have achieved in the past five years, but should not become complacent about the important work that we do. We must always remember that more can be done to support the backbone of the European economy, SMES.”
The cornerstone of European SME Week, the SME Assembly also marked the five year anniversary of the Small Business Act (SBA) for Europe, which reflects the Commission’s political will to recognise the central role of SMEs in the EU economy and for the first time puts into place a comprehensive SME policy framework for the EU and its Member States. Adopted in 2008, the SBA aims to improve the overall approach to entrepreneurship, permanently anchor the ‘Think Small First’ principle in policy making from regulation to public service, and to promote SMEs’ growth by helping them tackle the remaining problems which hamper their development.Over the past six months, the Lithuanian Presidency has put SMEs at the top of the economic agenda. As part of the SME Assembly, Minister of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania, Evaldas Gustas gave the keynote speech and spoke about the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of European SMEs.Minister for the Economy, Evaldas Gustas also reflected on the SME Assembly:“It is a great honour for Lithuania to host the SME Assembly – the event devoted to small and medium enterprises, which are key contributors to growth and jobs. Achieving at least a small improvement of competitiveness among SMEs is likely to have an impact on the whole society. We believe that all the potential founders and owners of enterprises must be supported to give them the best chance to create and grow their SMEs, both in home markets and across borders. Therefore, SME-friendly regulatory environment and services markets were at the core advancing the Presidency SME agenda.”The SME Assembly recognised the importance of the European Union’s commitment to SMEs and its continued success in rolling out the SBA, at the Member State level. The 2013 SBA factsheets, which assess progress in implementation of the SBA at national level, were also unveiled at the Assembly today. Delegates at the Assembly took part in dynamic and interactive discussions and workshops, which included a video message from EC President José Manuel Barroso, where he encouraged delegates to ‘think small first, but aim high.’ The Assembly also featured a ‘Big Debate’ on whether entrepreneurs are born or can be made, with contributions from Peter Vesterbacka, CMO of Rovio Entertainment, the inventors of Angry Birds and Thomas Cooney, Professor and Academic Director, Dublin Institute of Technology, among many others.

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