Survey on the Access to Finance of Enterprises (SAFE)

The European Commission monitors developments in SMEs’ access to finance through the joint European Commission/European Central Bank Survey on the access to finance of enterprises (SAFE).

Since 2008, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) have collaborated on the Survey on the Access to Finance of Enterprises (SAFE). 

The Commission published the first survey in 2009. In 2013, it became an annual publication. The SAFE survey covers all EU countries.

You can download the full Analytical Report for 2015 here (it is quite large at 5MB)

An interesting excel spreadsheet can be accessed here. This gives a breakdown on all questions and can be filtered for each EU country.

Finally, a nice easy Infographic which summarieses the results in an easy to view download.

A summary of the findings from the EU SME market is below:

“A majority of the EU28 SMEs expect to experience growth in turnover in the next two to three years. This proportion of SMEs expecting growth has been improving systemically since 2009.

achievement-18134_1920SMEs are more confident when talking to banks about financing and obtaining the desired results than when talking to equity investors and venture capital firms (20%). This is so even when accounting for the fact that the former source of financing is relevant to a greater proportion of SMEs.

SMEs prefer debt financing over equity financing.

Less than half of SMEs perceive no limitations in their access to future financing, namely 41% in the EU28. Those that do perceive such limitations most often cite insufficient collateral or guarantees, and interest rates and prices of financing being too high. SMEs in Germany most often saw no obstacles to future financing while this was least often the case in Greece. The more enterprises grow and the larger they become, the fewer obstacles they see in obtaining financing.

One out of four SMEs in the EU28 needs financing between EUR 25,000 and EUR 100,000 to realise their growth ambitions. SMEs active in industry require the largest amounts to realise their ambitions and these required amounts increase with enterprise size.

SMEs expect the availability of all types of financing to improve in the six months between October 2015 and March 2016″