SME Policy Index: The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2014

Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

image of SME Policy Index: The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2014

This report assesses the elaboration and implementation of SME policy in eight Middle East and North African economies of the southern Mediterranean shore. The assessment is structured according to the ten policy principles covered in the Small Business Act for Europe (the SBA). One of the main findings is that over the last five years there has been progress in SME policy elaboration and implementation in spite of the political and economic turmoil. However, that progress has been modest, incremental and uneven across economies and dimensions. Political and economic stability, as well as institutional development, had a major impact on policy performance.

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Enterprise skills and innovation

SBA principle: Promote the upgrading of skills and all forms of innovation

This chapter assesses policy areas providing a framework to develop enterprise skills and support innovation in SMEs. The first sub-dimension assesses policies and practices regarding the development of human capital and their impact on SMEs. Aspects considered are the availability of training, its relevance to SME needs, the quality of the training provided and how well it is targeted at both new and growing enterprises. The second evaluates policies that support innovation and technology transfers, such as the development of a strategic approach to innovation policy, the establishment of innovation and technology centres and the development of a broad range of technical and financial support services.

In terms of enterprise skills, almost all MED economies have achieved incremental progress since the 2008 assessment. They offer various training programmes that support SME skills enhancement and have allocated funds from their annual budgets in addition to donors’ support to finance training for enterprise growth. Significant efforts have also been made to improve the innovation policy framework in the MED economies; however more work is needed to build complete frameworks to support innovation in SMEs and establish coordination mechanisms to increase the effectiveness of those measures.

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