Cities offer not only the business opportunities, but the combination of services, support and infrastructure entrepreneurs and small businesses need to thrive. City governments develop policies and programmes tailored to the specific needs of local entrepreneurs and small businesses.

With the right support, we believe that entrepreneurs and SMEs will play a significant role in achieving the Europe 2020 goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Some 99% of European businesses are SMEs, and 90% of those employ fewer than ten people. Two out of every three private sector jobs in Europe are provided by SMEs.

Previous recessions have shown that new growth and jobs often come from smaller businesses. Supporting entrepreneurship is therefore crucial to improve Europe’s employment rates..

Entrepreneurship also fosters social and economic cohesion - especially in cities where development is lagging behind - by stimulating economic activity and job creation and helping integrate the unemployed or other disadvantaged groups into work.

The needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs vary widely, as do the environments in which they operate.

The European Small Business Act calls for policies relating to SMEs ‘to fully recognise this diversity and fully respect the principle of subsidiarity’. Cities are therefore ideally-placed to identify the most appropriate strategies and create favourable environments for entrepreneurs and small business to flourish. They do so by facilitating networking opportunities, managing business incubators and developing synergies between companies and research institutes, amongst other approaches.

Our working group on entrepreneurship focuses on finding ways to improve city services to entrepreneurs and small businesses. It is a platform for cities to share expertise and experience and the group closely follows European initiatives aimed at fostering entrepreneurship, and provides input to ensure that they are closely aligned with cities’ needs.

In October 2012, we published 'Helping cities foster entrepreneurship', our response to the European Commission consultation on its future Entrepreneurship 2020 action plan.  

  •  economy


start date: 16-10-2019
end date: 16-10-2019

Save the date for our autumn Social Affairs Forum in Warsaw

Our Social Affairs Forum will meet in Warsaw on 22-24 October to discuss how to ensure social inclusion and well-being for all ages in view of building inclusive cities for all people.


publication date: 08-05-2019

  •  cooperation

Our ‘Inclusive Cities for All’ initiative continues – Join NOW with your city pledge!

This February, EUROCITIES launched a new initiative 'Inclusive cities for all: Social rights in my city' and we announced the first 21 city pledges at a high-level political event at the European Parliament. The pledges bring a total investment of over €4.32 billion from cities over the next 5 years to fight poverty and social exclusion by delivering the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights at local level.


publication date: 07-05-2019

  •  environment

European Maritime Day 2019 in Lisbon - 16-17 May 2019

The focus of the European Maritime Day (EMD) 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal, will be on blue entrepreneurship, research, innovation and investment to boost sustainable technologies and emerging value chains in the wider ocean economy.


start date: 16-05-2019
end date: 17-05-2019

Key takeaways from our first-ever EUROCITIES Social Innovation Lab

The first-ever Social Innovation Lab of EUROCITIES took place on 25-27 March 2019 in Glasgow. Over 120 city politicians, officers and change makers (social enterprises and foundations) from over 50 cities in Europe joined forces to pilot a new way of working for ‘Making Inclusive Cities through Social Innovation’.


publication date: 02-04-2019

  •  cooperation
  •  culture
  •  economy
  •  environment
  •  knowledge society
  •  mobility

A wake up call for those who care about Europe

It is a critical time for Europe, ahead of the European elections. The success or failure of the European project will be decided in and by our cities’ ability to shape and implement policy locally.


publication date: 21-03-2019

  •  culture

Lisbon Res do Chao

Re-use of the abandoned ground floors in a low income housing context

case study

publication date: 18-03-2019

Have your say on the EU Semester 2019 country reports and the investment guidance for future cohesion policy

The European Commission recently published the country reports under the European Semester 2019, analysing the social and economic situation in each EU member state. The country reports include more examples and analysis related to specific urban challenges than in any other previous country reports beforehand, which is good news for cities.


publication date: 15-03-2019