1 in 10 EU enterprises classified as high growth in European Union
In 2018, about 172 000 companies were classified as high-growth enterprises in the EU, accounting for over one tenth (11.9%) of all active enterprises with at least 10 employees (figures released today by Eurostat).
Together, these enterprises provided work for almost 14 million employees.
Looking at the breakdown by economic activity, high-growth enterprises were most predominant in the service sectors in 2018.
The highest proportion of high-growth enterprises was in the ‘Information and communication’ sector (accounting for 18.0% of active enterprises), followed by ‘Administrative and support service activities” (15.8%), ‘Transportation and storage’ (14.1%) and ‘Professional, scientific and technical activities’ (13.3%).
Highest and lowest shares
In 2018, the distribution of high-growth enterprises varied considerably among EU Member States.
The highest share of high-growth enterprises among all active enterprises with at least 10 employees was recorded in Greece (16.9%), followed by the Netherlands (16.3%), Spain (16.1%) and Ireland (15.8%).
At the other end of the scale, the lowest shares were registered in Romania (2.6%) and Cyprus (2.7%, 2016 data), followed by Belgium (7.4%), Austria (8.5%), Demark and Lithuania (both 10.2%).
In the EU, the share of high-growth enterprises among all active enterprises with at least 10 employees increased by 3.3 percentage points (pp) compared with 2014 (8.6%). Similarly, this share increased in most EU Member States over the same period.
The highest increases were recorded in Slovenia (from 7.6% in 2014 to 14.6% in 2018, an increase of 6.9 pp, Spain and the Netherlands (both +6.6 pp).
In contrast, the share of high-growth enterprises decreased in four EU Member States: Latvia (-1.1 pp), Lithuania (-0.9 pp), Belgium (-0.5 pp) and Germany (-0.3 pp compared with 2015 data instead of 2014).