For the EU to achieve its goal of becoming the foremost knowledge-based economy in the world and a true ‘Innovation Union’, biotech Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are vital. Some of the most valuable innovation happens in SMEs which then go on to form relationships with larger companies, paving the way for improved health, cleaner energy, products and processes and sustainable farming for Europe’s citizens. However, to make sure Europe’s biotech SMEs thrive, there needs to be an appropriate regulatory and policy framework within which these companies can operate. EuropaBio’s SME Platform aims to create just that.
In the EU, SMEs comprise approximately 99% of all firms and employ about 90 million people. Globally, SMEs account for between 40% and 50% of GDP. Most European biotech companies are micro or small, research-intensive firms and thus they fall squarely into the SME category. Whilst small, they are also knowledge-based enterprises that provide the high value-added jobs that will help the EU achieve its goal of becoming the foremost knowledge-based economy in the world.
Biotech SMEs in Europe are active in all sectors from healthcare to industrial and agricultural applications, often working with larger companies to develop solutions for longer, healthier and greener lives. Biotechnology is therefore a key component in research, development and innovation activities which generate novel products and production processes in many industrial sectors. However, whilst there is growing recognition that biotech SMEs are important innovation drivers within the EU, they still face long and difficult pathways towards the financial sustainability and success that allows delivery of the innovative products and services that Europe is seeking.