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Small and medium sized companies are the engine of Europe's economy, accounting for 80% of European jobs created in the last five years. In Business Planet, we talk to those entrepreneurs who have succeeded and find out how they did it.
  • - In the EU, 60% of total waste is currently not recycled, composted or reused. This represents an enormous leakage of valuable resources (Eurostat).
  • - 44% of large companies in the EU sell their scrap material to another company. However, only 24% of SMEs do so (Flash Eurobarometer on SMEs, resource efficiency and green markets, 341).
  • - In an industrial symbiosis, the waste of one enterprise can be used as a resource by another one. This local collaboration allows public and private enterprises to buy and sell residual products, which brings mutual economic and environmental benefits.
  • - Industrial symbiosis helps valorise by-products within the EU, replacing the need to import natural resources. For example, in the Kalundborg symbiosis, approximately 150,000 tonnes of gypsum is recycled from desulphurisation of flue gas (SO2), which replaces the need to import natural gypsum (CaSO4). The symbiosis also allows to:
  •   - reduce CO2 emission by 275.000 tons each year;
      - save 3 million m3 of water through recycling and reuse;
      - convert 30.000 tons of straw to 5,4 million litres of ethanol;
      - replace 150.000 tons of yeast by 70% of soy protein in traditional feed mix for more than 800.000 pigs.
  • - SMEs can benefit from their inclusion into industrial symbiosis by getting access to new materials at competitive prices, by reducing the consumption of resources through collaboration with other companies or by offering solutions to symbiotic systems.

Useful links

  • - Trade of goods in the Single Market represents over 20% of the European GDP - around a quarter of the 20 million European SMEs trade with other EU countries.
  • - The Enterprise Europe Network offers free services to European SMEs to make more out of the Single Market; finding distributors, licensing new technologies, getting advice on European funding or legislation.
  • - The network representatives advise and support individual SMEs according to their individual needs through their experience and their contacts. Their database contains thousands of company profiles. SMEs can meet potential business partners in person at matchmaking events.
  • - The Enterprise Europe Network is made up of over 600 business support organisations. Organisations cover every single country of the EU and more than 20 countries outside the EU.

Useful links

    SMEs: Seizing Global opportunities

  • Hong Kong hub: opening up Asian markets to European SMEs
    06/03 11:13 CET

    Hong Kong hub: opening up Asian markets to European SMEs

    Hong Kong has long attracted European entrepreneurs as a vital hub and springboard to Asian markets. It is very much a non-stop, business-friendly and dynamic city. Now it holds even more…

  • - Entering third country markets is proportionally more difficult for SMEs than for large companies. At present, only about 9.7 % of the manufacturing SMEs export goods to countries outside the EU.
  • - SMEs exploring global markets are more competitive, since they also tend to be more productive, more innovative and more skill intensive.
  • - The European Commission proposes to explore the need for policy measures specifically targeted to these companies which have the potential to operate in the markets outside the EU.

Useful links

    Digital entrepreneurship

  • Riga at the heart of Europe's digital revolution
    20/02 11:13 CET

    Riga at the heart of Europe's digital revolution

    Start-ups in digital are a stunning success story in Europe’s otherwise stagnating economy. As the experiences of many in Latvia show, there is nothing to stop SMEs going global.

  • - The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy, while the borderless nature of web enterprises helps them to conquer foreign markets.
  • - The impact of web start-ups on economic growth and job creation will further increase as the functionalities of Internet expand.
  • - Web businesses are one of the primary creators of innovation and new jobs.

Useful links

Previous editions

  1. Delve into digital: tapping into Europe's online start-up potential
  2. What is social innovation and why is it good for business?
  3. Inspired industry: Creative Wallonia's recipe for success
  4. The gentle art of branding
  5. Upgrade to the circular economy
  6. European SMEs' expertise fuelling growth in Malaysia
  7. How to get financing for a start up with no credit history
  8. Entrepreneurs find a helping hand through Erasmus
  9. Mum's the word: 'Mompreneurs' find the right balance
  10. Making the most of the net effect
  11. The business benefits of EU chemical regulation
  12. Help at hand: making the most of EU financial support tools
  13. Power to the people with renewable energy cooperation
  14. Spain's Lerida cluster entrepreneurs boost international sales
  15. How to get EU funds to grow your SME
  16. Italian Dolomites: not just for profit
  17. Educating entrepreneurs: university support for budding business leaders
  18. Sweet success in Dublin, the experience of being an entrepreneur
  19. Micro-management: why small businesses are flourishing in Latvia
  20. Kick start Korea
  21. Turning Japanese: European SMEs' eastern 'Gateway' to new markets
  22. Two's Company in Belgium
  23. Meet the EU's female ambassadors for business
  24. Micro-credit brings organic growth in Ireland
  25. EU grants for eco-innovation
  26. Wired to the world
  27. Venture capital, a risky business?
  28. Go green, get growing
  29. Cooperative and competitive
  30. Incubating Spanish business
  31. Boosting Women Entrepreneurs
  32. Meeting targets
  33. Business parties in Swedish countryside
  34. Greek business clusters together to find strength in numbers
  35. Women entrepreneurs could be answer to crisis
  36. Taking business into Welsh schools
  37. Inheriting a business: how to make it a success
  38. New 'business hotel' scheme revives French region
  39. Setting up business in Latvia
  40. Business Planet battles bankruptcies
  41. Protecting the environment can be profitable
  42. Helping minorities into the EU job market
  43. Financing for the future
  44. Green light for green clusters
  45. Rising to new challenges
  46. Promoting female entrepreneurs
  47. Eco-labels: a smart strategy
  48. Moving on smoothly as companies change hands
  49. Angel dust magic for SMEs
  50. The Great Call of China
  51. How to protect your IPR in China
  52. Giving and receiving: social enterprise in Europe
  53. Erasmus: a win-win deal
  54. Recycling tyres: road to success
  55. How JEREMIE helped a Maltese company take wing
  56. 1,2,3, GO! Coaching and business development for innovative start-ups
  57. New energy and new directions in Bulgaria
  58. Business networks provide strength through unity
  59. Greece: cooperatives wage war on recession and unemployment
  60. Clusters: powerful engines of economic development in Europe
  61. Finding the right leader
  62. KETS: transforming innovation into competitive product
  63. Get bigger, go public: SMEs launching on the stock exchange
  64. Cashing in on culture - how businesses make money from Europe's history
  65. Boosting exports through networking
  66. Lean and green: Ecostars inspires competitiveness and fuel efficiency
  67. Business Planet: Boom in Bilbao as entrepreneurs schooled
  68. Turning a troubled textile hub into a thriving business cluster
  69. The angels on entrepreneurs' shoulders