Estonia will be committed to helping SMEs

Foreword by Toomas Tõniste, Finance Minister of Estonia, Presidency of the EU Council

Toomas Toniste It is impossible to overstate the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe today. Undoubtedly, SMEs are the key to economic growth, innovation and job creation in Europe. The timely publication of LSEG’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe report is an excellent way to showcase some of the most outstanding SMEs in Europe and is a testament to the dedicated work of European entrepreneurs. It is also an occasion to celebrate their success.

As the next country to hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Estonia is committed to fostering an open and innovative European economy – one that will allow SMEs to reach their full potential and become more resilient. To this end, Estonia focuses on improving the business environment, which will benefit SMEs across all business sectors. In particular, we want to make sure that both starting a company and expanding a business are as easy as possible. We aim to advance cross-border digital public services, which will increase administrative effectiveness and lower costs for SMEs, allowing companies to invest in their businesses and create new jobs.

Estonia also prioritises work on creating new funding opportunities for SMEs.

Therefore, under the Capital Markets Union (CMU), we will work on removing barriers to the free movement of capital. We hope this will ensure that more diverse and cheaper funding will become available for SMEs, while also channelling investment back into European economies. Coupled with a more resilient financial system through the Banking Union, we aim to equip European SMEs with the best opportunities that will allow them to make full use of the benefits the single market offers.

For those outside of the EU, but looking to benefit from the single market, Estonia is offering a digital solution to set up and run a location independent business.

We are the first country to offer e-Residency, a government-issued digital identity that allows anyone to start and manage a company online. This will enable companies to access the single market and realise their full entrepreneurial potential.

Fully digital services also mean that this process will be both cost-effective and fast, and, therefore, accessible to all SMEs.

LSEG’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe report highlights the accomplishments of SMEs across Europe.

I hope, therefore, that it will also serve as an inspiration to future entrepreneurs.

For our part, Estonia will make every effort to foster an open and innovative European economy, with an SME-friendly business environment.