Small and medium-sized enterprises dominate the business scene in Lower Saxony:
- Statistically speaking, 99.6 % of the state's enterprises fall into this category.
- Around 71.5 % of Lower Saxony's employees subject to social-security contributions work in smaller enterprises.
- SMEs are the training provider par excellence: over 78 % of those undergoing traineeships do so within the small-business community.
Economic policy in Lower Saxony is always primarily small-business policy.
This is only giving SMEs the priority they deserve. Economic-policy measures are packaged and geared to the needs of the small-business community. As well as issues affecting individual businesses, particular sites and branches of industry, there are a great many aspects of economic policy that are cross-sectoral and of importance to smaller enterprises. The main focus is on lessening the cost burden, reducing constraints and providing specific support measures aimed at giving enterprises a lasting boost.
Among the important areas where action is needed, and being taken, are: cost savings for the small-business community as a whole; cutting back on bureaucracy; deregulation and privatization; fair competition creating more equal opportunities in the market; and securing a sustainable future for businesses by means of innovation, investment, internationality and mobility.
The "Forum Mittelstand" (a special forum on and for SMEs) and its own working group are Lower Saxony's chief platforms for dialogue with the trade associations and chambers of commerce that represent the small-business community at large, aimed at airing the cross-sectoral concerns of this community and discussing strategies for addressing the challenges it faces.