How big is an SME

The middle class is a guarantee for stability and progress

  • 3.5 million companies in Germany are SMEs
  • 99.5% of all companies in Germany are SMEs
  • 81.7% SME share of apprenticeship training
  • 58% of all employees subject to social security contributions work in SMEs
  • 97.1% of German exporters are SMEs


Small and Medium Business

The middle class is Germany's economic and employment engine. It is the driving force behind innovations and a strong partner for large companies around the world: The majority of medium-sized companies are made up of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Over 99 percent of all companies in Germany are SMEs, they provide more than half of all jobs and generate more than every second euro (net added value). For the federal government, all companies with up to 499 employees and an annual turnover of less than 50 million euros are SMEs. According to the definition of the EU Commission, companies with up to 249 employees, an annual turnover of a maximum of 50 million euros and a balance sheet total of up to 43 million euros are considered to be SMEs.

family business

Medium-sized companies not only include SMEs, but also larger companies in terms of number of employees and turnover, if they are owner-managed or family-run. Because this usually also applies to SMEs, ownership, management and liability are traditionally in one hand in medium-sized businesses. Regional roots, continuity, thinking in generations and dealing responsibly with employees, customers and business partners are characteristic of medium-sized companies, which provide more than 80 percent of all apprenticeships and thus take responsibility for the skilled workers of tomorrow.

The successful model of the export-strong middle class

The "German Mittelstand" is internationally unique. He is quick and reacts flexibly when the market demands it. The closeness to the customer and short decision-making channels contribute to the fact that new, convincing products and services arise from business challenges. There are 2,700 "hidden champions" worldwide - almost half of them are German medium-sized companies. With their innovative products and problem solutions, they are world market leaders and an essential link in the value chain.

BVMW: The voice of the middle class

As part of the SME alliance, the BVMW represents the interests of over 900,000 entrepreneurial voices. In relation to governments, parliaments, ministries, large companies and unions, the BVMW successfully advocates the interests of medium-sized businesses. The BVMW is characterized by individual, practical problem solutions and personal support for its members on site. Over 300 representatives have around 800,000 direct business contacts each year. The BVMW offers a strong network, organizes over 2,000 events a year and has its own international offices in important growth markets around the world.

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Statistics and Definitions