Opportunities for Small & Medium-sized Enterprises
In the European Union and the United States, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-up enterprises are critical motors of growth and job creation. Ninety-nine percent of European and U.S. companies – over 20 million companies in the European Union and 28 million in the United States – are SMEs. In the European Union, SMEs provide two-thirds of all private sector jobs and have a tremendous capacity to create new employment. 85% of net new jobs between 2002 and 2010 were created by SMEs. In the United States, small businesses have provided over half of all jobs and two-thirds of all net new jobs in recent decades. On both sides of the Atlantic, SMEs are an important source of innovation, new products, and new services, and are already benefiting from transatlantic trade. Here are some examples.
Small company success stories
- Perkins Products, a company with 24 employees in Watertown, Massachusetts, makes assistive technology for the visually impaired. Last year, the company sold approximately $800,000 worth of goods to EU countries, including the UK, France, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, and Greece, helping visually impaired children to learn braille and providing visually impaired adults with tools to succeed in mainstream occupations. Because the company’s products serve people who are often challenged economically, any additional taxes and customs duties can prevent the company’s products from reaching those in the greatest need, and lengthy customs protocols add additional export time. David Morgan, Vice President and Company Manager, says, “[t]he concept of a TTIP agreement, which would make it easier for people who are blind or visually impaired to access our assistive technologies, could be a life-changer… literally. This initiative not only makes good business sense for U.S. companies, but also will make visually impaired people more independent and employable in the countries to which we export.”
- Rekluse Motor Sports engineers, develops, and manufactures motorcycle performance clutches with approximately 100 employees in its Boise, Idaho, facilities and exports its products to many EU countries, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, and Lithuania, working through eight European distribution partners. The company’s president, Dwayne Dayley, notes, “our international distributors and customers are very important to our success. We value them and want to make it easier for them to do business with us. Any reduction in regulatory hurdles that cause delays, increase costs, or require onerous documentation when shipping products to Europe would improve our partners’ experiences and would be greatly appreciated.”
- BioElectronics Corporation, located in Frederick, Maryland, has approximately 50 employees and makes medical devices that reduce pain and speed healing for consumers. While the company already exports its devices to the EU, and recently received an initial order from a customer in Italy valued at $150,000, it hopes that TTIP will reduce tariffs and provide easier access to the EU market for its products. “Today we live in a common world market with easy access to one another via emails, Skype, frequent inexpensive flights, and the English language. As the leading innovators, we need to exert market leadership to expand our opportunities,” said Andrew Whelan, President of BioElectronics.
Source: European Trade Commission. More information at: European Commission