Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs

2306-5265 (online)
2306-5257 (print)
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Published annually, this report documents the financing difficulties of SMES and entrepreneurs and monitors trends in 31 countries, along with government policy responses to deal with these challenges.

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Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2014

Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2014

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04 Sep 2014
9789264208254 (PDF) ;9789264208247(print)

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Start-ups and small firms continue to face significant obstacles to fulfilling their potential to innovate, grow and create jobs, particularly when it comes to obtaining access to finance. With its 13 core indicators of debt, equity and general market conditions, complemented by a review of government policy measures, Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2014: An OECD Scoreboard documents these financing difficulties and monitors trends in 31 countries, along with government policy responses to deal with these challenges.

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  • Foreword and Acknowledgements

    Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs are critical to ensuring economic growth is sustainable and inclusive. However, start-ups and small firms continue to face significant obstacles to fulfilling their potential to innovate, grow and create jobs, particularly when it comes to obtaining access to finance.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2014: An OECD Scoreboard monitors SMEs’ and entrepreneurs’ access to finance in 31 countries over the period 2007-12, based on data from central banks and national statistical agencies. The Scoreboard includes core indicators of debt, equity and framework conditions for SME and entrepreneurship finance, along with information on public and private initiatives to support SME finance. Taken together, the set of indicators form a comprehensive framework for policy makers and other stakeholders to evaluate the financing needs of SMEs and determine whether they are being met. The Scoreboard also constitutes a valuable tool to support the design and evaluation of policy measures, and to monitor the implications of financial reforms on access to finance and financing conditions for SMEs.

  • Reader's Guide: Indicators and methodology

    The OECD Scoreboard on SME and entrepreneurship finance provides a comprehensive framework for monitoring SMEs’ and entrepreneurs’ access to finance over time. The country profiles present data for a number of core indicators, which measure trends in SME debt and equity financing, solvency and policy measures by governments. Taken together, the set of indicators provide policy makers and other stakeholders with a consistent framework to evaluate whether SME financing needs are being met, to support the design and evaluation of policy measures, and to monitor the implications of financial reforms on SMEs’ access to finance.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts The evolving international framework for SME and entrepreneurship finance

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    • Recent trends in SME and entrepreneurship finance

      This chapter analyses trends in SME and entrepreneurship finance over 2007-12, based on data collected for the country scoreboards and information from demand-side surveys. A short overview of the global business environment sets the framework for the analysis of SME and entrepreneurship financing trends and conditions, focusing in particular on the changes which occurred in participating countries between 2011 and 2012. These recent developments are compared with trends over the crisis and early recovery stages. The pre-crisis year 2007 serves as a benchmark. The chapter concludes with an overview of government policy responses already taken to improve the access of SMEs and entrepreneurs to finance in light of recent developments.

    • Alternative financing instruments: The case of mezzanine finance

      This chapter discusses the limitations of debt financing and introduces the range of non-bank financing instruments available to SMEs and entrepreneurs, with a focus on the technique of mezzanine finance. In the post-2007 environment of tight bank credit, governments are considering measures to promote the wider use of hybrid instruments, such as mezzanine finance, to supply "growth capital" to SMEs and entrepreneurs. This chapter illustrates the modalities of this finance provision and of recent government support, through evidence from Scoreboard countries.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Country profiles of SME and entrepreneurship financing 2007-12

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    • Austria

      In 2010, 99.7% of all firms in Austria were SMEs and they employed approximately 67% of the labour force.

    • Belgium

      In 2010, SMEs in Belgium constituted 99.8% of total firms, the majority of which were micro-enterprises (93.9%). Only 0.2% are large enterprises.

    • Canada

      In 2012 Canadian small businesses (1-99 employees) constituted 98.0% of all businesses and employed over 7.7 million individuals, which translates into 69.7% of the private sector labour force. Among those employees, 76.0% were employed in the services sector and 24.0% in the goods sector.

    • Chile

      In Chile, the vast majority of national enterprises are SMEs, representing 99.0% of all enterprises and employing 63%Statistics of the Internal Revenue Office for business year 2012. of the business sector labour force. As of 2011, 77.2% of SMEs were microenterprises, 19.8% small and 2.9% medium-sized enterprises. Although the usual definition of an SME is based on the annual sales of the enterprise, the financial sector uses a definition based on the loan amount, as indicated in .

    • Colombia

      In Colombia, microenterprises and SMEs (MSMEs) represent an important part of the economy, employing 80.8% of the country’s workforce, contributing to 40% of GDP and representing 13% of total exports.The estimates about the employment contribution of MSMEs and their share in the total number of establishments are based on the Economic Census of 2005, the latest available in Colombia. The participation of MSMEs in the GDP is inferred from an estimate of the Association of Micro and Small Entrepreneurs (ACOPI). The estimates about MSMEs’ contribution to exports are based on a 2003 study by FUNDES. However, there exist large differences within the MSME sector, particularly between medium-sized firms, on the one hand, and micro and small enterprises on the other. These latter, which account for about 68% of the business population, tend to be more vulnerable and less affected by policy instruments. Also, informality is common and formalisation is constrained by the family nature of the businesses, which are typically limited in their managerial capacity and corporate governance.

    • Czech Republic

      There are roughly one million enterprises in the Czech Republic, most of them are SMEs with less than 250 employees (99.9% of all enterprises as of 2010), employing almost 2.5 million people (69.9% of Czech Republic’s workforce). The bulk of them are micro firms (95.8% of SMEs). Sole-traders without employees (self-employed individuals) represent a significant segment of business entities.

    • Denmark

      SMEs account for 99.7% of all enterprises in Denmark as of 2010. In particular, 89.4% of these are micro-enterprises.

    • Finland

      In Finland, 99.7% of all firms were SMEs in 2010. The vast majority of them (92.3%) were micro-enterprises with less than ten employees.

    • France

      There are roughly 2.5 million SMEs (legal units) in France, which account for 99.8% of all enterprises.

    • Greece

      SMEs make up 99.9% of firms in Greece and employ 85.5% of the labour force and produce 70.2% of the value added.

    • Hungary

      In 2010, 99.9% of all enterprises in Hungary were SMEs and 94.7% were micro enterprises. SMEs account for the largest part of the country’s workforce, employing 71.9% of the total labour force as of 2010.

    • Ireland

      SMEs comprised 99.6% of all employer firms in 2011 and employed approximately 69% of the labour force, whereas large enterprises comprised just 0.4% but accounted for approximately 31% of the employment. Microenterprises constituted 82.6% of all enterprises.

    • Israel

      The IsraeliThe statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law. Small and Medium Business Agency (SMBA) defines an SME as follows:

    • Italy

      SMEs comprise 99.9% of enterprises in Italy and account for 80% of the industrial and service labour force (Eurostat, 2011). The sector has a relatively small-scale structure: the share of micro-enterprises is higher than the EU average and this particular feature does not depend on the sector composition. Data collected from the debt side were mainly available for most of the firms with less than 20 employees, which represents nearly the entire universe.

    • Korea

      SMEs constituted 99.9% of industrial enterprises in 2010, with the vast majority being micro enterprises employing up to nine employees (96.4% of enterprises). Small and medium enterprises accounted for another 3.5% of all enterprises. The large enterprises with more than 250 employees are only 0.1% of all enterprises.

    • Mexico

      There were approximately 4.7 million SMEs in Mexico as of 2008. The majority of Mexican firms were micro-enterprises (95.0%).

    • The Netherlands

      SMEs with up to 250 employees comprised 99.8% of enterprises and employed around 95% of the labour force in 2010. A total of 917 250 non-employer firms were active in the country as of 2012.

    • New Zealand

      Small businesses in New Zealand dominate the scene with 99.5% of enterprises being classified as SMEs in 2012, including 322 887 non-employer firms. SMEs had 833 710 employees as of 2012, which corresponds to 43.3% of the country’s workforce.

    • Norway

      There was a total of 399 804 enterprises in Norway in 2010, out of which 256 871 non-employer firms. The bulk of the employer firms are SMEs, employing between 1 and 249 employees and accounting for 99.6% of total firms with employees. Of the enterprises with at least one employee, 81.2% were microenterprises.

    • Portugal

      In 2010, SMEs comprised 99.9% of enterprises in Portugal and employed 79.4% of the business sector labour force. The vast majority of enterprises (94.9%) were micro-enterprises employing 41.7% of the country’s workforce, 4.4% were small and 0.6% were medium-sized.

    • Russian Federation

      The Russian Federation does not use the EU definition of an SME (see ). The Russian State Statistics Service undertook a complete statistical census of actually operating SMEs in 2011. Included were individual entrepreneurs and those micro, small and medium enterprises which were legal entities or officially registered. If both legal and non-legal entities were included, there were 4.6 million SMEs in the Russian Federation in 2011 vs. 3.2 million legal operating entities. However, some SMEs register in one area and operate in another area and such SMEs were not counted in the survey undertaken by the Russian State Statistics Service.

    • Serbia

      Serbia does not use the standard EU definition for an SME (see ). 99% of all Serbian enterprises are SMEs and employ around 65% of the labour force.

    • Slovak Republic

      SMEs dominated the Slovak Republic’s economy, accounting for 99.9% of the enterprises population as of 2010. The vast majority of SMEs (95.7%) were micro enterprises, employing up to nine employees. Self-entrepreneurs are an important component of the enterprise population in Slovak Republic, a significant part of which are employing firms. In 2012, there were altogether 41 031 self-entrepreneurs with at least one employee, which constitute a significant part of the SME population.

    • Slovenia

      In 2010, 99.8% of all firms in Slovenia were SMEs. Micro-enterprises with less than nine employees accounted for the bulk of the SME sector, covering 93.8% of SMEs.

    • Spain

      In Spain, 99.8% of all enterprises were SMEs in 2011, employing 66.0% of the labour force. Out of these, 89.8% were microenterprises, 8.6% were small and 1.4% were medium-sized enterprises.

    • Sweden

      In Sweden non-employer firms accounted for 623 087 firms in 2010, 99.8% of which were SMEs, employing 65.4% of the country’s labour force.

    • Switzerland

      SMEs, defined as firms with up to 250 employees, constituted 99.3% of Swiss enterprises in 2010, employing 67.4% of the labour force. Micro enterprises with up to nine employees accounted for the majority of SMEs (69.7% of SMEs), employing 18.0% of the country’s workforce.

    • Thailand

      There were 2.9 million SMEs (firms with less than 200 employees) in Thailand in 2010, constituting 99.6% of all enterprises and employed 78% of the labour force including agriculture. The economy of Thailand was hit by two major events during the period under study: political instability and the financial crisis originating in the West. In Studies on SME and Entrepreneurship: Thailand. Key Issues and Policies (2011), the OECD found that less than half of the 2.9 million SMEs can access formal finance. This problem was compounded in Thailand by systemic volatility in financial markets. The Asian financial crisis and the recent global financial crisis have made it difficult for Thai banks to accept risky loans, not least because they were often burdened with extremely high non-performing loan rates. The lesson learned from the Asian crisis in 1997 was that adequate capital alone cannot encourage bank lending. Banks will only lend when they are comfortable with the level of credit risk.

    • Turkey

      In Turkey an enterprise is a legal unit or combination of legal units. The definition of an SME does not completely correspond to the EU definition. As illustrated in , micro-enterprises accounted for more than 98% of all firms in 2009.

    • United Kingdom

      There were over 1.6 million enterprises in the United Kingdom in 2010, including non-employer enterprises. 99.6% of these were SMEs with less than 250 employees. 89.4% were micro enterprises with less than ten employees.

    • United States

      The SBA broadly classifies small businesses as any firm with 500 or fewer employees (see ). These firms account for 99.7% of all firms. They employ slightly over half of the private sectors’ employees, pay about 43% of the total private sector payroll, generate about 64% of net new private sector jobs, and create about 46% of the private-sector output.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Annexes

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    • Methodology for producing the national scoreboards

      Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs – An OECD Scoreboard provides a framework to monitor trends in SMEs’ and entrepreneurs’ access™ to finance – at the country level and internationally – and a tool to support the formulation and evaluation of policies.

    • Standardised Table for SME and entrepreneurship Finance Data Collection

      Country Name

    • Standardised Format for reporting government policy programmes

      The standardised format for reporting government policy programmes () aims to harmonise information and support policy makers to monitor change in programmes’ terms, outcomes, and effectiveness. The consistency and continuity of reporting over time is crucial to the assessment. Often, changes in programmes’ parameters influence outcomes, such as uptake and costs, with a time lag. The format allows for systematic and time-consistent reporting without increasing the reporting burden. Once the information on a specific programme is entered, it can be updated a on regular basis. When the programme changes, the information sheet would track the year of the change and the parameter(s) affected.

    • Surveys and statistical resources on SME and entrepreneurship finance

      Surveys represent an important source of information and data for monitoring the state of financing available and used by SMEs and entrepreneurs, as well as for assessing appropriateness and effectiveness of government policies in this area. A large number of supply-side and demand-side surveys are conducted at the national level by government agencies, national statistical offices, central banks and, in some cases, business associations and private organisations.

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