The life-blood of our economy

Commentary by Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, President, UEAPME

Europe’s high-growth SMEs are vital to our economic future. We need to find a way for our capital markets to support them, or they will seek finance elsewhere.

There is no doubt that capital markets within the European Union are heavily underdeveloped and very fragmented along national borders. Without a true single market for capital, the European Single Market cannot be seen as completed. Therefore, it is more than consequent that the European Commission tries to improve capital markets within the European Union with the aim to create a Capital Market Union. UEAPME, the European Association of Crafts and SMEs, which represents about 12 million small and medium-sized enterprises at European level, welcomes the Capital Market Action Plan and supports the main objectives of this policy programme.

“UEAPME is supporting the work of the European Institutions to strengthen the investor market in Europe”

Non-functioning capital markets and difficulty accessing equity finance is a specific problem for those SMEs, which have a high potential to grow. Politicians all over Europe realise more and more that one of the main barriers to competitiveness, innovation and growth is the lack of finance during the scaling-up phase. While more traditional small enterprises can focus on debt finance and large companies have access to corporate bonds and to stock markets, fast-growing, high-tech companies often leave Europe for other regions of the world, where they can grow faster and more successfully.

This is the reason why I am more than pleased to support the initiative of London Stock Exchange Group to bring 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe on stage and present them to potential investors.

  • 12m small and medium-sized enterprises are represented by UEAPME

As President of UEAPME, I would like to congratulate all selected companies for their nomination. I am convinced that this report will improve public awareness of those companies, which are the most important engine for future growth, jobs and welfare in Europe. I am sure this report is useful for investors ready to invest in real economy and to contribute to the competitiveness of Europe.

“Our common aim must be to keep companies like the ones listed in this book in Europe”

UEAPME, together with many other stakeholders, is supporting the work of the European Institutions to strengthen the investor market in Europe and to make investing in Europe more attractive and profitable. However, we have to be aware that access to equity is not the only barrier to growth within the European Single Market. Other issues to be tackled are different tax regimens and differences in consumer protection laws and technical standards as well as in insolvency and accounting rules. All of them make it more difficult for our target companies to grow as fast in Europe as they can in other parts of the world.

Our common aim must be keep companies like those listed in this report in Europe. In order to achieve this, we have to remove these barriers and allow them to develop, to grow, to create jobs and to prosper, like in other parts.