Public Hearing on Entrepreneurship on European Islands
This Public Hearing is a follow-up activity of the CoR opinion on “Entrepreneurship on Islands: contributing towards territorial cohesion” and the opinions on “Smart Island” and “Inclusive Island” initiatives adopted by the EESC .
The majority of insular SMEs are micro-enterprises – with fewer than ten employees – which produce and produce a large part of the economic value in islands.
Craft professions – carpenter, butcher, baker, roofer, metal worker or information technician – are at the heart of European islands communities. They produce mainly within their local base, ensure jobs and vocational training for young and old, and make an essential contribution to innovation in the European economy.
Craft and small enterprises face particular problems due to their small size and limited resources. The globalisation of the economy and enlargements of the EU have also considerably changed the challenges that these enterprises face. Starting up a new business and getting the required capital is a challenge, as is finding the right kind of finance to expand an established business. Due to their limited resources and remoteness they suffer more from red tape and administrative burdens than mainland enterprises.
The public hearing will examine if existing policies and tools to support SMEs are sufficient for insular SMEs or some new tools or mechanism, mentioned also in the opinions, are needed to help these companies to tackle obstacles and participate on a equal foot in the integration process and assure therefore a level playing field.