Management Summary: Study „Public SME Grants and Firm Performance in European Union: A Systematic Review of Empirical Evidence “

The study aimed to answer the following research question. Do public subsidies and grants help supported small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to increase their performance and growth?

We answer this question by conducting a systematic review of evidence in the European Union. We review studies investigating the effects of public grants on firm performance in the European Union’s 28 member countries that were published from 2000 on. We provide a structured overview of 30 studies covering 13 countries. Our review offers information on the methodological approaches, variables and findings of the previous studies.

The summarized findings show mostly the positive outcomes of the grants on firm-survival, employment, tangible/fixed assets, sales/turnover, with mixed findings for labour productivity and total factor productivity (TFP). However, we point out that there are significant differences concerning the time period of analysis (investigating short-term vs long-term outcomes), and importantly, the heterogeneity of effects concerning firm size and age, region, industry and intensity of support.

Target Audience/Stakeholders: Public entrepreneurship and SME policymakers

Citation: Dvouletý, O., Srhoj, S. & Pantea, S. (2020). Public SME grants and firm performance in European Union: A systematic review of empirical evidence. Small Business Economics. DOI: