What is an SME?

By definition, an SME is a small or medium sized enterprise. Under the standard EU definition of an SME, businesses are classed as an SME if they employ fewer than 250 people and have an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million.

1: Micro Enterprises usually employ less than ten people, have an annual turnover of less than €2m and an annual balance sheet total of less than €2m.

2: Small enterprises employ between ten and fifty persons, have an annual turnover of less than €10m and an annual balance sheet total of less than €10m.

3: Medium enterprises employ between fifty and two hundred and fifty persons, have an annual turnover of less than €50m and an annual balance sheet total of less than €43m.

Five facts about the SME industry in Ireland

SMEs in Ireland account for 99.7% of all active businesses in Ireland. Here are more interesting stats about SMEs in Ireland:

  1. 68%: Small and medium enterprises employ 68% of the total workforce in Ireland. Therefore, almost seven out of every 10 workers are employed by an SME.
  2. 90%: Over 90% of SMEs are classed as “micro-enterprises” with less than 10 employees.
  3. 49%: The services industry is by far the largest sector, it accounts for 49% of total enterprises and 43% of employment.
  4. 80%: Astonishingly, up to 66% of all SME start-ups will fail within the first 5 years. In addition to this, 80% will fail within the first five years, without a business plan. Don’t fall into the trap; download the brilliant ThinkBusiness Business Plan Template. 
  5. 91%: According to a recently published survey, 91% of Irish SMEs websites are unable to process online sales. Our guide can equip you with the knowledge to make the leap into e-commerce.