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Strengthening SMEs and Entrepreneurship for Productivity and Inclusive Growth

OECD 2018 Ministerial Conference on SMEs

image of Strengthening SMEs and Entrepreneurship for Productivity and Inclusive Growth

SMEs that grow have a considerable positive impact on employment creation, innovation, productivity growth and competitiveness. Digital technologies and global value chains offer new opportunities for SMEs to participate in the global economy, innovate and strengthen productivity. Yet SMEs are lagging behind in the digital transition and are disproportionately affected by market failures, trade barriers, policy inefficiencies and the quality of institutions. A cross-cutting approach to SME policy can enhance SME innovation and scale-up, as well as their contributions to inclusive growth. This includes a business environment conducive to risk-taking and experimentation by entrepreneurs, as well as access to entrepreneurship competencies, management and workforce skills, technology, innovation, and networks.

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Business transfer as an engine for SME growth

Business transfer Business transfers are commonly understood as the transfer of ownership of a company to one or more legal entities or natural persons. represents a critical stage in the life of many small businesses, which the ageing of the population of entrepreneurs has brought to the fore in many OECD countries. In Japan, for instance, more than 300 000 SME incumbents will attain the age of 70 within the next five years according to recent figures by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. In Italy, about 9% of entrepreneurs are over 70. In Austria, 27% of all SMEs in the industrial economy, accounting for 30% of employment, are expected to be handed over in the period from 2014 to 2023 (Ziniel et al., 2014). In Canada, approximately 50% to 60% of business owners will retire over 2017-27. In Switzerland, as of 2013, 22% of SME incumbents intended to pass ownership over in the next five years and 25% were seeking to hand the leadership position over (Christen et al., 2013). Furthermore, in former socialist economies in Central and Eastern Europe, the first generation of entrepreneurs is nearing retirement, leading to a significant proportion of the business stock having to be transferred in the coming years.

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