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Single Market Scoreboard

Access to finance

Access to finance and the single mMarket – why does it matter?

Several policy tools under the single market (e.g. State-aid, the Late Payment Directive) promote the availability of finance to entrepreneurs, notably small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovative firms.

The indicators in this section shed light on the single market's performance in terms of access to finance conditions. The indicators focus on stakeholders’ perceptions as to the availability of public support, the payment delays in business-to-business (B2B) transactions and the availability of venture capital.

These indicators highlight difficulties linked to stakeholder perception of the availability of public financial support, including guarantees, and to B2B payment delays (52.5 days) consistently higher than the 30 days target suggested in the current Late Payment Directive. The indicators also suggest that the availability of venture capital in the single market, which stood at 0.48% of GDP in 2021, is growing rapidly (over 3000% on average in the EU between 2018 and 2021), albeit starting from very low levels.

Access to public financial support

This indicator measures the share of SMEs that indicated a deterioration in response to the question “In regards to access to public financial support including guarantees deteriorated, would you say that they have improved, remained unchanged or deteriorated over the past six months?”

As the indicator measures the share of SMEs indicating a deterioration, a lower share indicates a more positive perception of the conditions for access to public financial support.

Access to public financial support: share of business that indicated a deterioration

Source: European Commission, SAFE Survey 2021

Time to get paid by businesses

This indicator measures the number of days it takes for a company to get its invoices paid by the customer, focusing only on business-to-business (B2B) payments.

Lower figures on the indicator are better as the goal is to reduce payment terms. Unlike the public administration indicator, this measures the total number of days to get paid, not the payment delays over contractual deadlines. Negative figures are therefore not possible.

No data are available for Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta.

No comparable data are available on B2B payments from previous surveys.

Time to get paid by businesses (days), 2022 survey

Source: Intrum, European Payment Report 2022

Venture capital to GDP

Venture capital is a form of equity financing particularly relevant for young companies with innovation and growth potential but untested business models and no track record; it replaces and/or complements traditional bank finance.

The chart measures venture capital investments in a country as a percentage of the country’s GDP ((venture capital investments / GDP) * 100), as well as the growth rate of the same indicator in the period 2018-2021.

The left vertical axis refers to the value of the indicator for 2021. The right vertical axis refers to the indicator's 2018-2021 growth rate: it is measured in logarithmic scale, due to the large differences among countries.  Thus moving a unit of distance along the scale means the number has been multiplied by 10. The relevant values are indicated  in the chart to facilitate its interpretation.

Countries with the highest values of the indicator are more effective in attracting venture capital investments. 

Venture capital investments as a share of gross domestic product (GDP)

Source: Invest Europe and EIF

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