SMEs are vital to the UK economy; indeed, according to the Federation of Small Business, SMEs account for 99.9% of all private sector businesses in the UK, 59.3% of private sector employment and 48.1% of private sector turnover, but the proliferation of red tape can put a huge administrative burden on the day to day running of these small businesses.

However, now is your chance to have a say on how you think the law should be changed to cut red tape and support small business in a public consultation launched by the European Commission to gather feed-back and ideas on how the Small Business Act for Europe (“SBA”) should be revised with a view to making a proposal for a new SBA to be adopted in the first half of 2015.


The SBA was adopted in 2008 and updated in 2011 with the aim to promote the role of SMEs in the EU economy. The SBA currently has 5 main aims:

  1. Reducing the administrative burden on SMEs
  2. Facilitating SME’s access to finance
  3. Facilitating SME’s access to markets 
  4. Promoting entrepreneurship, and
  5. Addressing the shortage of skilled workers

EC Proposals

The proposed changes in relation to the SBA include:

  1. Adopting an EU regulation on regulatory simplification ensuring it is possible to start a company with maximum costs of €100 and within 3 days, and to ensure that the necessary licences are obtained within 1 month
  2. Exploring the possibility to lower the transaction costs/fees for SMEs to facilitate access to industrial and intellectual property
  3. Launching an EU-wide campaign on cutting red tape for SMEs
  4. Urging member states to put in place plans on business transfers and implementing have a one-stop-shop on transfers by 2017
  5. Identify and address bottlenecks in national legislation which impede SMEs growth; and
  6. Strengthen the European venture capital markets and promoting crowd-funding and mezzanine financing

Details of the consultation

The target groups for the consultation include SME business organisations, individual SMEs and other relevant stakeholders and citizens and will run from 8 September to 15 December 2014. The consultation is carried out by completing the online questionnaire found at