Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are of high importance in the euro area corporate sector. They account for 99.8% of the number of firms in the euro area, 60% of turnover and 70% of employment. At the same time, SMEs are not just “scaled-down” versions of large businesses. It is likely that the monetary policy transmission mechanism is different for SMEs compared with large firms because of SMEs’ higher dependence on bank financing.
An investigation both by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission (EC) showed that comparable, timely, and frequent data do not exist for SMEs in the European Union. To fill this gap, the EC and the ECB decided in 2008 to collaborate on a survey on the access to finance of SMEs in the European Union.
The survey covers micro, small, medium-sized and large firms and it provides evidence on the financing conditions faced by SMEs compared with those of large firms during the past six months. In addition to a breakdown into firm size classes, it provides evidence across branches of economic activity, euro area countries, firm age, financial autonomy of the firms, and ownership of the firms. The first wave of the survey was held in June-July 2009.
Part of the survey is run by the ECB every six months to assess the latest developments of the financing conditions of firms in the euro area. The more comprehensive survey, which includes the first wave of the survey, is run every two years, in cooperation with the European Commission.
The anonymised microdata of the survey on the access to finance of SMEs is available for research purposes. Interested researchers need to fill in the confidentiality declaration form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upon authorisation by the ECB, the returned form needs to be printed, signed, and submitted by post to:
Survey on the Access to Finance - Statistics Development/Coordination
European Central Bank
60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany