OECD SME and Entrepreneurship Papers

The series provides comparative evidence and analysis on SME and entrepreneurship performance and trends and on a broad range of policy areas, including SME financing, innovation, productivity, skills, internationalisation, and others.


SME policy responses to the 2022/2023 energy crisis

Policy highlights and country experiences

This paper takes stock of one year of policy responses to the 2022/2023 energy crisis triggered by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine from the perspective of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In this paper, “SME policy responses” are defined as all government policies, whether SME-specific or not, which have lowered or affected in other way the price of electricity and natural gas paid by SMEs. The paper discusses three broad policy categories and related approaches implemented across countries: price-support measures; income-support measures; and complementary policies fostering the green transition. Overall, while emergency measures were initially centred on energy-intensive sectors, a larger number of SMEs was eventually covered as governments ramped up the scale and scope of their action due to the protraction of the Russian war in Ukraine. Going forward, as wholesale energy prices return to pre-war levels, price-support measures should be withdrawn. Income support could be used in some cases to help companies deal with still high retail energy prices, but the main policy focus should shift towards measures that improve the energy efficiency and environmental performance of SMEs.


Keywords: energy crisis, Small and medium enterprises, energy policy, climate change
JEL: L52: Industrial Organization / Regulation and Industrial Policy / Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods; L25: Industrial Organization / Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior / Firm Performance: Size, Diversification, and Scope; H25: Public Economics / Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue / Business Taxes and Subsidies; M21: Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics / Business Economics / Business Economics; Q48: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Energy / Energy: Government Policy; L53: Industrial Organization / Regulation and Industrial Policy / Enterprise Policy; H32: Public Economics / Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents / Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Firm
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