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 2017

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Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2017

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21 Apr 2017
9789264269026 (EPUB) ; 9789264269019 (PDF) ;9789264189850(print)

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Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2017 provides information on debt, equity, asset-based finance, and framework conditions for SME and entrepreneurship finance, complemented with an overview of recent policy measures to support access to finance in 39 countries. The sixth instalment of this annual publication provides a solid evidence base to improve SME policy making. Almost a decade after the financial crisis, the financing situation of SMEs and entrepreneurs has generally improved in 2015 and the first half of 2016 in most participating countries, and indicates a more favourable business environment. While alternative sources of financing are gaining some traction, SMEs nevertheless remain very reliant on bank lending, making them vulnerable to credit market conditions and the economic climate.

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  • Foreword

    As governments around the world address the challenges of low growth, weak trade and investment, and rising inequalities, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs have emerged as a driving force for open and prosperous societies. Fostering these firms’ contributions to sustainable and inclusive growth requires a level playing field for small business, crucially in the area of finance. Yet, compared to large firms, SMEs continue to face more stringent financing conditions, higher interest rates for bank credit, and higher hurdles in attracting alternative sources of finance.

  • Reader's guide

    Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2017: An OECD Scoreboard monitors SMEs’ and entrepreneurs’ access to finance over the period 2007-15. Based on data collected for the country profiles and information from demand-side surveys, this report includes indicators on debt, equity and asset-based finance, as well as on financing framework conditions, complemented by information on recent public and private initiatives to support SME access to finance. Taken together, these indicators form a comprehensive framework for policy makers and other stakeholders to evaluate the financing needs of SMEs and entrepreneurs and to determine whether they are being met. This report 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 more generally.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    In 2015, SME financing generally improved, but weak demand and insufficient investment opportunities are likely holding back a stronger recovery in SME lending and other non-bank financing instruments.

  • Recent trends in SME and entrepreneurship finance

    This chapter analyses trends in SME and entrepreneurship finance over 2007-15, 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 financing trends and conditions, focusing in particular on the changes which occurred in participating countries between 2014 and 2015. The chapter concludes with an overview of government policy responses put in place to improve SMEs’ access to finance in light of recent developments.

  • Fostering markets for SME finance: Matching business and investor needs

    This chapter focuses on key demand- and supply-side barriers that currently limit SMEs’ access to non-bank finance instruments. It reviews recent trends in policy measures to support the development of such alternative finance instruments, including SME investor-readiness and financial literacy programmes, as well as ways to incentivise institutional investors, retail investors and other potential market participants to enter SME equity markets, with the objective to identify good practices and policy recommendations.

  • Country snapshots

    This chapter contains a snapshot view of SME and entrepreneurship finance developments, as well as the Scoreboard with core indicators for countries covered in this report. A more comprehensive discussion is provided in the full country profiles published online.

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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 supports the formulation and evaluation of policies in this domain.

    • Standardised table for SME finance data collection


    • Statistical resources on SME and entrepreneurship finance

      Information on SME financing is often sparse and anecdotal in nature, hindering evidence-based policy making in this area. Moreover, difference in methodologies and definitions of available data on this issue vary significantly across countries, limiting the usefulness and reliability of international comparisons. The OECD can serve as a clearinghouse for national and multilateral efforts to improve the knowledge base on SME finance, by fostering international dialogue on this issue, and collecting and diffusing information on statistical resources. The list below represents a first step in this direction, providing links to relevant sources of information on SME and entrepreneurship finance, both for participating countries and at the international level.

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