Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are non-subsidiary, independent firms which employ fewer than a given number of employees. This number varies across countries. The most frequent upper limit designating an SME is 250 employees, as in the European Union. However, some countries set the limit at 200 employees, while the United States considers SMEs to include firms with fewer than 500 employees.

SME-Dominated Industries

Unsurprisingly, most SMEs reside in industries that don’t require large initial capital investments. The fastest-growing SMEs are:

  • Legal offices
  • Fitness and recreation centers
  • General freight trucking, local
  • Dentists offices
  • All other specialty trade contractors
  • Landscaping services
  • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
  • Veterinary services
  • Other personal care services
  • Drinking places (alcoholic beverages)
  • All other personal services
  • Physicians offices
  • Hotels (except casino hotels) and motels
  • Engineering services
  • Limited-service restaurants
  • Beauty salons
  • Child day-care services
  • Beer, wine, and liquor stores
  • Single-family housing construction
  • Full-service restaurants