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SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2019

Assessing the Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

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Robust SME sectors are critical to the prosperity of the six Western Balkan economies and Turkey, accounting for over 70% of those employed in the business sector and generating 65% of value added in these seven economies. Yet their potential remains untapped, as SMEs across the region grapple with numerous challenges that hamper their growth and productivity. They are still under-represented in international trade, and their contributions to value-added remain comparatively low as they have difficulties in moving or expanding into high value-added activities.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the implementation of the ten principles of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) in the seven EU pre-accession economies over the period 2016-18. It monitors progress against similar assessments performed over the past decade and identifies the outstanding challenges affecting SMEs. It also provides targeted recommendations to remove barriers to SME development and unleashing their potential for driving inclusive economic growth.

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Innovation policy for SMEs (Dimension 8b) in the Western Balkans and Turkey

This chapter assesses policies and infrastructure for fostering innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Western Balkans and Turkey. It starts with an overview of the assessment framework and the progress made since the last assessment in 2016. It then analyses the four sub-dimensions of Dimension 8b: 1) policy framework for innovation, considering the overall strategic approach to innovation; 2) government institutional support services for innovative SMEs, looking at the physical infrastructure to support SME innovation; 3) government financial support services for innovative SMEs, assessing the availability and scale of direct and indirect financial schemes; and 4) SME and research institution collaboration, asking whether policy approaches seek to establish links between academia and industry. Each sub-dimension concludes with key recommendations to support SMEs in becoming more innovative.

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