Annoyingly the definitions used still vary from scheme to scheme, but the European Union schemes and most UK Government schemes adopt the EU definition which came into force on 1 January 2005 which takes account of employee numbers, turnover and annual balance sheet total. In summary: -
must have less than 250 full time employees; either an annual turnover of under 50 million Euro or an annual balance sheet total of less that 43 million Euro; not more than 25% of its control in the hands of a non SME enterprise or jointly held by several non SME enterprises.
must have fewer than 50 employees; annual turnover below 10 million Euro or annual balance sheet total below 10 million Euro and, equally, must not have more than 25% of the shares owned by one or more non SME enterprises.
must have less than 10 employees and turnover or annual balance sheet total of less than 2 million Euros. It too must not have holdings by non SMEs as above.
The definitions of cross holdings by non SMEs are complex and we are able to help clarify your status if you have outside investors, hold shares in other companies or are part of a group, directly or indirectly.