SMEs have traditionally found it difficult to get their views across to policy-makers due to limited resources, and time taken to reach a common position. As part of the Review of the Small Business Act for Europe, the Commission invited Member States to nominate a national SME Envoy to complement the role of the European Commission's SME Envoy. Together with representatives of EU-level SME business organisations, the Network of SME Envoys will make up an Small Business Act advisory group. The Network of SME Envoys will enable better consultations with SMEs in the Member States. Director General of the Slovak Business Agency (till 28/2/2014 the National Agency for Development of SMEs) Mr. Branislav Safarik, was appointed as the SME Envoy for Slovakia by the Minister of Economy of the Slovak Republic, Mr. Tomas Malatinsky, in 2012.
The mission of the SME Envoy:
The SME Envoy is an active interface with the SME business community, considering their specific interests and needs in EU programmes and policies. The main objective of this function is to establish a close, direct link between the Commission, SMEs and their representatives. Thanks to the SME Envoy, SME interests and needs can be better identified at an early stage and highlighted to the relevant Services, so ensuring that their concerns are taken into consideration and that adequate and efficient measures are implemented and overall the EU and National Policy is more SME-friendly. Particular attention is given by the SME Envoy to the craft sector, small businesses and sole traders because of their specific needs.
SME Envoy mainly:
- promote SMEs' interests throughout all government bodies, including those at regional and local levels, and ensure that the "Think Small First" principle is integrated into their policy-making and regulatory proposals.
- act as the main interface between the European Commission and national policy-makers for contributing towards the dialogue on SBA implementation.
- contribute towards evaluating and reporting on the uptake of the SBA in the Members States, stepping up efforts to disseminate widely information on SME-policy actions and promoting the exchange of good practices.
The Network of SME Envoys annually meet at SME Assembly that brings together SMEs; business organisations; European, national and regional government; academia and the media to discuss how to help SMEs. Apart from the annual SME Assemblies, the National SME Envoys meet usually 3 times a year.
The list of national SME Envoys can be found here.