SMEs and entrepreneurs constitute the backbone of national economies in OECD countries and beyond. In the OECD area, they represent almost the totality of the business population and account for 60% of total employment and between 50% and 60% of value added on average. They are key to strengthening productivity, delivering more inclusive growth and adapting to megatrends such as the new industrial revolution, the changing nature of work and demographic changes.

Financing for SMEs is important at all stages of the business life cycle, in order to enable these firms to start up, develop and grow. Governments around the world have been stepping up efforts to foster a diversified financial offer for SMEs. The OECD’s annual report Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs: An OECD Scoreboard is an important tool to help governments get their SME finance policies right. By monitoring SME access to debt, asset-based finance and external sources of equity, along with framework conditions and information on policy initiatives, it provides a solid framework and evidence base in this area.

The seventh edition of this annual publication covers 43 countries worldwide and includes data covering the 2007-2016 period. It builds on previous editions with important improvements in methodology and analysis. The study shows that the economic environment has generally improved for SMEs. In 2016, fewer SMEs went bankrupt, continuing the trend which began in 2014. In addition, B2B payment delays and non-performing loans remain low by recent standards. Nonetheless, lending is now down in a majority of countries for which data are available, in some instances due to weak demand for credit and low levels of corporate investment.

This has coincided with an emerging trend of rising volumes of financing instruments used by SMEs as alternatives to bank loans. This is the case for asset-based financing such as leasing and factoring, venture capital investments, and crowdfunding and related online marketplace activities. While these developments are welcome, many SMEs remain over-reliant on straight debt for their external financing needs. The financial crisis underscored the vulnerability of these businesses to changing conditions in the credit market. It also highlighted the limitations of bank debt, especially for innovative fast-growing firms for which equity sources of finance are often more appropriate. In addition, micro-enterprises and start-ups continue to face more financing constraints and would benefit in particular from having access to a diversified set of financing options.

The G20/OECD High-Level Principles on SME Financing call for a two-pronged approach to enhance access to traditional debt finance and enable SMEs to access a broad variety of financing sources to complement bank finance. In this respect, the OECD is supporting countries through the identification of effective approaches for implementation of the Principles.

In recent years, many new initiatives to support financial instruments, other than straight debt, have surfaced. These include the establishment or expansion of venture capital funds, the removal of regulatory barriers and the creation of tax incentives for investors in SMEs. Such measures often seek to target young firms with high growth potential, since these SMEs often encounter particular difficulties in accessing external finance. Financial support is also increasingly complemented with non-financial support.

The latest Scoreboard data suggests that these policies are starting to bear fruit. It will remain crucial to monitor these developments, the risks that they might pose, and, more generally, to better understand SME finance trends in order to underpin the development of appropriate policy responses. The Scoreboard will continue to be a vital tool and to assist policymakers in these areas.


Angel Gurría

OECD Secretary-General


This report was produced by the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE), led by Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Director, as part of the programme of work of the Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship.

The development of Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2018: An OECD Scoreboard is possible thanks to the country experts from participating OECD member and non-member countries, which provided information for the country profiles.

Country expert team


Andrew Fragomelli

Small Business Policy Division of the Treasury


Evan Holley

Small Business Policy Division of the Treasury


Thomas Saghi

Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy


Johan Westra

Federal Ministry of Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy


Christophe Herinckx

Federal Ministry of Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy


Eduardo Andre de Brito Celino

Special Secretary for Micro and Small Enterprises (SEMPE)


Carlos Veloso

Special Secretary for Micro and Small Enterprises (SEMPE)


Alexandre Monteiro

Special Secretary for Micro and Small Enterprises (SEMPE)


Richard Archambault

Industry Canada


Jose Joaquin Fernandez Chicharro

Ministry for the Economy, Development, and Tourism


Wu Bao

China Institute for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises


Renyong Chi

China Institute for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises


Yantai Chen

China Institute for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises


Jorge Enrique Motta Llanos

Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism

Czech Republic

Veronika Reek

Ministry of Industry and Trade


Ole Jørgensen

Ministry of Business and Growth

William Gram

Ministry of Business and Growth


Karel Lember

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications


Jari Huovinen

Confederation of Finnish Industries


Jean-Pierre Villetelle

Banque de France


Marie-Laure Wyss

General Directorate for Competitiveness, Industry and Services


David Shiolashvili

Enterprise Georgia


Timotheos Rekkas

Hellenic Ministry for Development and Competitiveness


Zsuzsanna Lakatosné Lukács

Ministry for National Economy

Árpád Ferenc Nagy

Ministry for National Economy


Marja-Kristina Akinsha

Department of Finance, Banking Policy Division


Eric Gargan

Department of Finance, Banking Policy Division


Nir Ben-Aharon

Small and Medium Business Agency, Ministry of Economy


Sabrina Pastorelli

Bank of Italy


Daiji Hotihama

Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry


Yermek Abdebekov

Damu Entrepreneurship Fund


Dinara Tazhenova

Department for Entrepreneurship, Ministry of National Economy


Assel Yebemgediyeva

Center for Trade Policy Development


Changwoo Nam

Korea Development Institute


Agita Nicmane

Ministry of Economics


Cesare Riilio

National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies


Ivan Ornelas Diaz



Liliana Reyes Castrejon



Karunajothi Kandasamy

SME Corporation Malaysia


Rafiza Bt. Abdul Rajab

SME Corporation Malaysia


Suhailes Shamsuddin

SME Corporation Malaysia


Liselotte Van Thiel

Ministry of Economic Affairs

New Zealand

Miriam Mathews

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment


Eirik Knutsen

Statistics Norway


Øystein Jørgensen

Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries


Pawel Maryniak

Ministry of Economic Development


Nuno Goncalves

Office of the Secretary of State of Economy and Regional Development


Evgeny Tcherbakov



Maja Gavrilovic

National Bank of Serbia


Ana Ivkovic

National Bank of Serbia

Slovak Republic

Tatiana Smoroňová

National Agency for SME Development


Tine Janžek

Bank of Slovenia

South Africa

Peter Makgetsi

National Treasury, Financial Sector Policy Unit


Víctor García-Vaquero

Bank of Spain


Andreas Kroksgård

Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis


Samuel Turcati

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs


Davina Kunvipusilkul

Bank of Thailand


Ufuk Acar



Utku Macit

Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology

United Kingdom

Asad Ghani

British Business Bank


Matt Adey

British Business Bank

United States

Giuseppe Gramigna

Small Business Administration

The development of the Scoreboard benefits from the inputs of Delegates of the OECD Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship, chaired by Alejandro Gonzalez Hernandez, and members of its Informal Steering Group on SME and Entrepreneurship Financing, chaired by Professor Salvatore Zecchini. Richard Archambault (Industry Canada), Martin Brassell (Consultant), Asad Ghani (British Business Bank), Luis Ángel Maza Lasierra (European Committee of Central Balance Sheet Data Offices), Jean-Louis Leloir (European Association of Mutual Guarantee Societies) and Valentina Nigro (Central Bank of Italy) provided input for boxes on timely issues. Helmut Kraemer-Eis (European Investment Fund) and Andrew McDonald (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) prepared annexes to the country profiles. Data provided by Tania Ziegler (Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance), and comments from Gianluca Riccio (OECD Business and Industry Advisory Committee) are gratefully acknowledged.

This report was prepared by Kris Boschmans and Lora Pissareva, Policy Analysts, OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, SME and Entrepreneurship Division (CFE/SMEE), under the supervision of Miriam Koreen (Deputy Director and Head of Division, CFE/SMEE). Sebastian Schich, Economist, OECD Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, Financial Markets, Insurance and Pensions Division prepared the thematic chapter. The report benefited from substantive inputs from Naima Smaini (CFE/SMEE). Masaaki Komatsu, Rhea Subramanya and Bénjamin Vargha (Trainees, CFE) made statistical contributions to the report. Heather Mortimer-Charoy provided technical support.