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SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2019

Assessing the Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

image of SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2019

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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Support services for SMEs (Dimension 5a) in the Western Balkans and Turkey

This chapter assesses the policies in the Western Balkans and Turkey that provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with access to business support services (BSSs). It starts by providing an overview of the assessment framework and progress since the last assessment in 2016. It then analyses the two sub-dimensions of Dimension 5a: 1) BSSs provided by the government, assessing the BSS policy framework, the extent and types of services provided by public institutions, how information about them is disseminated, and how this provision is monitored and its effectiveness evaluated; and 2) government initiatives to stimulate private BSSs, including the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies to encourage the uptake of privately provided support services, particularly co-financing schemes. Each sub-dimension concludes with key recommendations to help ensure that SMEs have access to and benefit from a wide range of support services.

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