SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2016

Assessing the Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

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The SME Policy Index is a benchmarking tool designed for emerging economies to assess SME policy frameworks and monitor progress in policy implementation over time. The Index has been developed by the OECD in partnership with the European Commission (EC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the European Training Foundation (ETF) in 2006 for the Western Balkans. The South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL) joined as an additional partner in 2014. The SME Policy Index has since 2006 been applied in four regions and nine assessment rounds overall.

The SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2016 presents the results of the fourth assessment of the Small Business Act for Europe in the Western Balkans and, since 2012, Turkey. The assessment framework is structured around the ten principles of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA). It provides a wide-range of pro-enterprise measures to guide the design and implementation of SME policies based on good practices promoted by the EU and the OECD.

The Index identifies strengths and weaknesses in policy design, implementation and monitoring. It allows for comparison across countries and measures convergence towards good practices and relevant policy standards. It aims to support governments in setting targets for SME policy development and to identify strategic priorities to further improve the business environment. It also helps to engage governments in policy dialogue and exchange good practices within the region and with OECD and EU members.


Enterprise skills and innovation (Dimensions 8a and 8b) in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Promote the upgrading of skills in SMEs and all forms of innovation (Small Business Act Principle 8)

Skills and innovation are crucial drivers of productivity and SME growth in today’s knowledge-driven economy. Principle 8 of the Small Business Act provides the framework for analysing and evaluating innovation and enterprise skills policies in two areas: 1) building enterprise skills; and 2) innovation policy. As the European Union pulls out of a prolonged recession, it is also giving renewed policy consideration to training and the creation of a digital single market. The SME training environments in the Western Balkans and Turkey could benefit from more co-ordinated data on existing training provision and SME training needs. Training for start-ups has improved, but economies could do more to combine training and mentoring with more diversified financial support, particularly for high-potential start-ups. More sustained effort is needed to develop training for growth-oriented businesses, including ensuring SMEs are ready for online activities. E-training is underdeveloped in most of the economies in the region. Policy makers will also need to pay more attention to quality assurance in training, particularly in the five EU membership candidates. In innovation policy, some economies have made progress in establishing innovation policies and the infrastructure needed to implement them but progress has been uneven. Future challenges will include developing the right governance structure for innovation, promoting innovation, and enabling collaboration between academia and the private sector.


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