The European Commission defines small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as follows:

  Headcount Turnover in € mill Balance Sheet Total € mill
Micro Enterprises 9 2 2
Small Enterprises 49


Medium Enterprises 249 50 43

Comment: Valid as from Jan. 1, 2005; the figures present maximum limits.

Source: European Commission

In general, most SMEs are autonomous since they are either completely independent or have one or more minority partnerships (each less than 25%) with other enterprises. If that holding rises to no more than 50%, the relationship is deemed to be between partner enterprises. Above that ceiling, the enterprises are linked.

Detailed definition

Recommendation of the European Commission