EU Enterprise and Innovation ministers are in Dublin today for a series of talks on how SMEs could hold the key to creating jobs and drive European growth.
Today’s event at Dublin Castle is taking place as part of a two-day informal meeting of the EU’s Competitiveness Council. Yesterday, EU and Research ministers concentrated on how to nurture jobs from annual investments that are made in research and innovation within the EU.
Speaking today, Richard Bruton, Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, claimed that SMEs around Europe have the combined potential to create 23m jobs.
In Bruton’s view, if each SME in the EU could create just one new job, 23m jobs would be created throughout the EU.
International SME experts also shared their insights at today’s event, including Josh Lerner, a professor of investment banking at Harvard Business School, who spoke about SMEs and accessing finance.
Thomas Cooney, an entrepreneurship professor at Dublin Institute of Technology, covered how cities and regions are drivers of growth and jobs.
The European Commission’s vice-president Antonio Tajani, who is responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, also gave a keynote speech today.
Bruton said that, following today’s meeting, he will now draw up a list of the best new ideas for supporting SMEs and job creation and will work with fellow EU Enterprise ministers to implement these ideas.
He said Ireland’s presidency of the EU has already made progress on the SME front.
"Auditing requirements for SMEs are set to be reduced and the target participation rate for SMEs in the EU’s new innovation programme Horizon 2020 has been increased from 15 to 20pc," explained Bruton.