Austrias SME sector is one of the most competitive in the entire EU, according to the European Commission. Presented in the Graz, Austria, the latest performance review – the Small Business Act (SBA) fact sheet 2018 – gave Austria’s SME sector a glowing report.
Between 2013 and 2017 the value added by SMEs rose by 13.2% and employment generated by SMEs by 4.8%. Moderate SME growth is expected to continue in 2017-2019, with value added rising by 9.3 % and employment by 3.3 %, resulting in an estimated 64,100 additional SME jobs..
The EU Commission found that Austria enjoyed one of the most competitive SBA profiles in the European Union and outperformed the EU average in no less than four areas: ‘Internationalisation’, ‘Environment’, ‘Skills and Innovation’ and ‘Single Market’. In the area of single market Austria is the third strongest Member State, and regarding environment it even tops the rankings. In the remaining areas, it is on a par with the EU average.
Past & future SME performance1
SMEs contribute substantially to Austria’s ‘non-financial business economy’. They generate 61.8% of total value added and 68.3% of total employment, exceeding the EU average. SME productivity in Austria is well above the EU average, too. These positive developments for Austrian SMEs in the ‘non-financial business economy’ are expected to continue. In 2017-2019, SME value added is expected to rise by 9.3% and SME employment by 3.3%, resulting in an estimated 64100 additional SME jobs.
Implementing the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA)
Austria’s SBA profile remains strong and is further improving. It performs above average in four areas andisin line with the EU average in five areas. Austria made the most progress during the current reference period in the areas of environment and single market.
SME policy priorities
Austria needs to further improve the conditions for entrepreneurship, and education on entrepreneurship should be improved from primary school level onwards. Substantial work needs to be done in reducing the administrative burden for SMEs and making it easier for them to do business. Simplifying and improving customs procedures (time and cost) in the internationalisation process. On access to finance, as banks are becoming more restrictive in providing loans, there must be better access to alternative sources of finance, notably equity financing. This would also help increase the currently low proportion of high-growth companies/scale-ups.