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SME definition (Commission Recommendation 96/280/EC)

An SME (Small or Medium-sized Enterprise) is an enterprise which:

  • has fewer than 250 employees,
  • has either
    • an annual turnover not exceeding 40 million euro,
    or
    • an annual balance-sheet total not exceeding 27 million euro
  • and conforms to the criteria of independence.

An independent organisation is an organisation which is not owned for 25 % or more of the capital or the voting rights by one enterprise or jointly by several enterprises falling outside the definition of an SME. This threshold may be exceeded in the following two cases:

  • if the organisation is held by public investment corporations, venture capital companies or institutional investors, provided no control is exercised either individually or jointly,

    or

  • if the capital is spread in such a way that it is not possible to determine by whom it is held and if the organisation declares that it can legitimately presume that it is not owned as to 25 % or more by one enterprise, or jointly by several enterprises, falling outside the definition of an SME.

This definition is currently undergoing some changes and could affect future activities. More info

 


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