Supporting Study for the joint evaluation and impact assessment for the revision of the ‘SME Definition’ [as part of DG ENTR Framework Contract ENTR/172/PP/2012/FC – lot 2]

Start Date: July, 2017
End Date: July, 2018
Client: European Commission, DG GROW

The supporting study encompasses an evaluation and impact assessment to assess the results and impacts of the “SME definition” at EU level and to inform its decision. The overall objective of this study is to support the Commission’s decision-making process, by providing an informed retrospective and prospective analysis examining whether a revision of the current “SME Definition” outline by the EU Commission is to be envisaged.

The main purpose of this study is (1) to provide an informed diagnosis of the current situation and of the actual problems of the “SME definition” in the 28 MS based on the analysis of the information already available and on the collection of relevant and more up-to-date evidence, and (2) on the basis of the diagnosis referred to above, to refine potential future options for amending the current “SME Definition”, and assess and substantiate their possible impacts.

The objectives of a possible modification of the Recommendation (which outline the current “SME definition”) are to ensure that the SME Definition is fit for purpose and up-to-date with the current economic conditions, and to ensure that the SME Definition provides legal certainty, and close loopholes to prevent companies which do not face the difficulties of genuine SMEs from exploiting it and benefit from SME status.

The study will encompass two parts: (1) The evaluation: The overarching objective of the evaluation part of this study is to assess to what extent the SME Definition has achieved its objectives and to analyse throughout its implementation 5 dimensions: relevance, effectiveness, coherence, efficiency, and EU added value. (2) The impact assessment: The study shall also provide input for the impact assessment that will accompany a potential proposal for revising. The impact assessment part is expected to refine the problem statement and will be based on the findings of the evaluation part, refine the various indicative policy options presented below, assess their impacts globally and on each group of identified stakeholders, and provide an evidence-based comparison of the various options or combination of options, to feed into a possible Commission impact assessment.

Approach / methodologies / types of services provided : Desk research and literature review, Survey, Impact assessment, Interviews


The Joint Institute for Innovation Policy with all its members: Joanneum Research, Tecnalia, TNO, VTT

Danish Technological Institute (DTI)

Valdani Vicari & Associati (VVA)

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