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The role of banks in the internationalization of European SMEs


Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has analyzed the role of banks in the internationalization of European small and medium enterprises in the study: "What role can banks play in the internationalization process of European SMEs?". According to the results of the study, it is essential for the economies in European countries today, that banks strengthen their system of support for SMEs internationally. That is, because internationalized SMEs create more jobs than those only focused on domestic markets. Roland Berger estimates that up to 600.000 jobs could be created in Europe in the next 5 years as the result of a full financial support to European SMEs' internationalization.

Internationalization of small and medium businesses can take different forms: importing raw materials or intermediate products, exporting finished products, foreign direct investment, subcontracting, etc. Beyond their role as engines of innovation, internationalized SMEs create a lot more jobs than purely local SMEs: there is 7% annual growth in the number of jobs at internationalized SMEs, versus 1% for others. "So internationalization is a key lever for reversing the unemployment trend," says Cécile André, Partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. French SMEs for example lag behind in this area; just 31% have any international activities, compared to 44% on average in the European Union.

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