34. Spain

34.1. SMEs in the national economy

Small and medium-sized enterprises dominate the Spanish economy, representing 99.9% of businesses and employing 76.4% of the business labour force. Of these, 95.6% were micro-enterprises, 3.7% were small enterprises and 0.6% were medium-sized enterprises.

Table ‎34.1. Distribution of firms in Spain, 2016.
(By firm size)





Total number

Share in %

Total number

Share in %

Microenterprises (less than 10 employees)

3 134 042


5 004 075


Of which without employees

1 821 901




Small enterprises (from 10 to 49 employees)

120 397


2 891 509


Medium enterprises (from 50 to 249 employees)

20 485


2 290 510


Large enterprises (More than 249 employees)

4 196


5 154 459



3 279 120


15 340 553


Source: Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE) for number of companies and Ministry of Labor for number of employees.

34.2. National policy framework to support SMEs in public procurement

Act 14/2013 of 27 September 2013 on supporting entrepreneurs and their internationalisation contains a variety of measures to promote public procurement for SMEs – including reduction of administrative burdens, lowering thresholds for accessing lists of approved economic operators, and use of self-declaration to partake in the bidding on public contracts.

The new Law for Public Procurement – Law 9/2017 of 8 November 2017 on Contracts of the Public Sector – incorporates the measures of Act 14/2013 and new measures to support SMEs, such as:

  • division into lots becoming the general rule whenever possible

  • contracting authorities made able to monitor payments from contractors to subcontractors

  • late payment legislation compliance reinforced

  • self-declaration becoming the general rule to take part, and only the successful bidder has to present all the documents

  • new simplified procedure for small contracts (less than EUR 100 000).

In addition, as a general business policy for SMEs, the Directorate-General for Industry and SMEs is defining a new strategic framework. In this framework, there will be a policy to facilitate access of SMEs to the public procurement market. Up to now, the Directorate-General has done several actions which include, among others:

  • implementation of a guide to explain public procurement legislation

  • communication of the European code of best practices for public procurement to the Ministries and regional governments.

34.3. Implementation mechanisms

The Directorate General for Rationalisation and Public Procurement Centralisation (DGRCC), as the Spanish CPB at the state level, procures most goods and services of general use in public administration, except for health products. The DGRCC holds meetings with SME associations in some cases and organises public sessions before launching new framework agreements or contracts which are open to all potential bidders. During the public sessions, the suppliers could raise questions and their opinions are heard through questionnaires answered by economic operators on different aspects such as lots, prices, market standards, etc.

34.4. Monitoring performance

SME participation is not currently measured, however, DGRCC is currently working on a new IT tool to process the data which is scheduled to be available from January 2018.

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