A joint OECD-INSME roundtable was held on May 20th 2021 to discuss government responses to support SMEs and entrepreneurs worldwide, which were analysed in the OECD’s paper “One year of SME and entrepreneurship policy responses to COVID-19: Lessons learned to “build back better”. The event looked forward to what the pandemic and policy response thereto mean for making SME and entrepreneurship policies more effective, efficient and sustainable.

Importantly, the webinar took place after the decision of the OECD Council on 20 April 2021 to elevate the Working Party on SME and Entrepreneurship to Committee level (CSMEE); a clear recognition of the relevance of SMEs and Entrepreneurship in the international policy debate and of the need to listen more and better to the voice of new and small entrepreneurs.

INSME President Sergio Arzeni emphasised the two elements which stand out after a year of pandemic “the impact on SMEs has widened inequalities and asymmetries between formal SMEs and informal SMEs, whereas the informal economy in some countries is particularly important and should be taken fully into account. Furthermore” he added “European countries now are deciding how to spend their recovery funds and, for now, only Spain has put SMEs at the centre of their recovery plan.”

It appeared clear during the discussion that governments should support the ambitions of entrepreneurs and SMEs, fuelling the recovery structuring recovery packages focusing on long-term objectives: the digital and green transition. In order to properly “build back better (BBB)”, recovery measures should take into account the circumstances and needs of SMEs and entrepreneurs by consulting SMEs in BBB programs and performing SME tests.

Among others, the roundtable saw the participation of Martin Godel, Chair of the OECD CSMEE and INSME Member, Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Director, OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities.

(INSME Secretariat)