Definition of an SME

A small or medium-sized enterprise, or SME, as defined by the European Commission is a business or company:

  • that has fewer than 250 employees; and
  • has either (a) annual turnover not exceeding €50 million (approximately £40 million) or (b) an annual balance-sheet total not exceeding €43 million (approximately £34 million); and
  • of whose capital or voting rights, 25 per cent or more is not owned by one enterprise, or jointly by several enterprises, that fall outside this definition of an SME. This threshold may be exceeded in the following two cases: (a) if the enterprise is held by public investment corporations, venture capital companies or institutional investors provided no control is exercised either individually or jointly, or (b) if the capital is spread in such a way that it is not possible to determine by whom it is held and if the enterprise 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 definitions of an SME.