Fabian Demicoli

The future of the Small Business Act:Building up a smart grid for a smart regulation

With all the commitments in place, it is now crucial to move on to secure the full implementation of the policy choices made so far. This aim must be achieved both at EU and national level. We believe that the European SME Envoy and its national recently appointed counterparts will be a crucial actor in this process alongside representative business organisations. If each actor rises up to the task, Europe will be able to build what we call "a smart grid for a smart regulation", which will ensure that words will become deeds when it comes to SME policy.

 

When the Small Business Act for Europe was launched, a comparison with the best practices of the US Small Business Act was inevitable. However, the US SBA is a binding measure, contrary to the European synonymous communication. From that moment onwards, GRTU stressed that the only possible way to go beyond this "original sin" was to follow (mutatis mutandis) the US best practices on consultation and impact assessment. In the United States, the "Think Small First" principle may not yet be a full reality, but it is bound to be the very secret for the success of the SBA.

In detail, the US Small Business Administration, mainly working on direct counselling and support to SMEs, including on access to finance, works by an Office of Advocacy that protects SMEs before the US Congress under the "obligation to consider how small entities will be affected by federal regulatory proposals. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and Executive Order 13272 require federal agencies to determine the impact of their rules on small entities, consider alternatives that minimize small entity impacts, and make their analyses available for public comment.

The Office of Advocacy gives small firm owners and their representatives opportunities to make their voices heard about rules that affect their interests. Annually, the Office of Advocacy helps small businesses save billions in regulatory costs". The Office of Advocacy was created under the assumption that "giving small employers a voice early in the process is key to reducing the small business impact of state regulations while increasing regulatory compliance and passing on cost savings".

The motto for the US administration was that "what is not good for small business is not good for the economy". In the European "smart grid", this should be turned into a positive definition so that all stakeholders recognise that "what is good for small business is good for the economy", and act accordingly.

We believe that the "smart grid" formed by the European and national SME Envoys must reach exactly this aim.

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