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Single Market Scoreboard

Access to finance

Access to finance and the single market – 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.

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?”

The share of SMEs indicating a deterioration has risen sharply in recent years, with higher shares reported in 2022 than in 2019 for all Member States except Latvia.

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 2022

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.

According to the European Payment Report 2023, the average time taken by businesses to pay their invoices was 57 days. This is a significant increase from before the COVID-19 pandemic and also higher than in 2022.

The data show that long payment times are an issue across all EU Member States.

Lower figures on the indicator are better as the goal is to reduce payment times. 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), 2023 survey

Source: Intrum, European Payment Report 2023

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 in 2019 and 2022.

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

The venture capital investments to GDP indicator fell in 2022 compared to the previous year. All EU countries saw a decrease, except Portugal and Croatia. Estonia is still the country with the highest value in 2022, followed by Luxembourg, Sweden, France, Finland.

The decrease in this indicator was due, in particular, to a reduction in venture capital investments in the EU, compared to the previous year, caused by the change in economic outlook (i.e interest rate, inflation). This decrease was mainly the result of the lower volume of later-stage venture investments (despite an increase in the number of companies that received a later-stage venture investment).

In comparison to the EU average, the corresponding figures for USA and China respectively are about 9 and 7 times higher, while UK is slightly above and Japan somewhat below. An overall downward trend was also observed in China, US, Japan, UK.

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

Source: Invest Europe, EUROSTAT, OECD, Statista

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