The SME Assembly is a major event for SMEs in Europe, which takes place every year in the framework of the European SME Week and provides input ‘from the ground’ for the implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA), an overarching framework for the EU policy on SMEs. The SBA aims at improving the approach to entrepreneurship in Europe, simplify the regulatory and policy environment for SMEs, and improve their access to finance and international markets.

Held in the end of November, the 2018 edition of the SME Assembly took place in Graz, Austria. As one of the key outcomes, the participants contributed to the preparation of a Manifesto for an innovative Europe, thus putting spotlight on challenges and key fields of actions for policy makers, business support organisations and businesses to maintain European SMEs’ competitiveness at a high level: 

Image credit: Manifesto for an innovative Europe

The Manifesto provides some concrete ideas for taking policy action in each of the five highlighted key areas, such as:  

  • Completing the Single Market: groups of countries and regions are encouraged to be vanguards of the completion of the Single Market.
  • Digitalisation: Digital innovation hubs and clusters shall further ensure access to shared resources for all actors of business ecosystems.
  • Interconnected ecosystems and societal inclusiveness: Entrepreneurship shall be supported in all its forms, like in rural areas, through approaches contributing to societal cohesion. 
  • Skills Gap: apprenticeships and dual education processes shall contribute to develop new qualifications responding to digitalisation.
  • Sustainability: public private partnerships can contribute to both the local economy and solving environmental challenges.

The Manifesto ends with the following words:

“To help achieve all of this we need an enabling policy framework in which all levels of government and relevant stakeholders play their part.

To play your part, keep sharing your good practices, reproduce those of others and share examples and smart practical ideas for making Europe’s SMEs more innovative and stronger than ever.”

Is there a better way to confirm the mission of Interreg Europe and the Policy Learning Platform?

Sources and further reading:

The Manifesto for an innovative Europe is accessible at the website of the EC