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.


Operational environment for SMEs (Dimension 4) in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Make public administrations responsive to SMEs’ needs (Small Business Act Principle 4)

Lengthy and costly administrative procedures can be a major constraint on doing business and their impact is most heavily felt by micro and small-sized enterprises. Dimension 4 assesses progress towards simplifying regulations and reducing compliance costs and procedures for SMEs, with a focus on business registration and e-government systems. The economies of the Western Balkans and Turkey have continued to streamline business regulation to lower market entry barriers and reduce transaction costs for businesses in their interaction with government agencies. However, progress has slowed down since the assessment in 2012. E-government portals and services have been expanded in most WBT economies, one-stop shops for starting a business are currently operative throughout the region and business registration has been simplified. Despite this, starting a business in the WBT region remains on average more costly and involves more procedures than in OECD countries. WBT economies should keep up their momentum by streamlining company registration procedures, increasing awareness about e-services amongst SMEs, and improving the integration of government databases to further reduce transaction costs. Governments might also consider reducing other administrative barriers to business, such as licences and permits, which continue to be a major constraint in certain economic sectors.


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