SMEs and Entrepreneurship


11th Meeting of the MENA-OECD Working Group on SME and Entrepreneurship Policy

Harnessing digital transformation for SME productivity and inclusion

19 June 2019 | Tunis, Tunisia

This meeting will discuss ways the MENA region can benefit from digital transformation, how it can boost productivity for SMEs and entrepreneurship, and the good it can do for underrepresented groups like youth and women. It will showcase the OECD's work on digitalisation and explore how pioneering toolkits can support policy makers in shaping the digital transformation across the region.


The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2018: Interim Assessment of Key SME Reforms

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) come in all different forms, from traditional crafts and retailers with very few or no paid employees, to mid-sized manufacturing firms and high-growth firms offering innovative goods, services and/or business models. At the same time, motivation to become an entrepreneur is similarly broad-ranging: some entrepreneurs take up an activity out of necessity, while others identify business opportunities or devise profitable business ideas. 

Nurturing SME development and start-ups for more diverse and inclusive economies is a complex endeavour requiring actions in several areas, including structural policies. But it also requires putting small firms and entrepreneurs at the centre of policy making by, for example, ensuring that regulations do not put undue burdens on them, or that public procurement rules do not exclude small bidders.

Read the latest report: The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2018: Interim Assessment of Key SME Reforms




About the MENA-OECD Working Group on SME Policy and Entrepreneurship

The MENA-OECD Working Group on SME Policy and Entrepreneurship is co-chaired by Tunisia and Italy. The Working Group engages partners in regional dialogue and peer learning on issues pertaining to SME growth and entrepreneurship promotion.

The participants of the Working Group are policy makers from key institutions in charge of enterprise policy (such as ministries of industry and the economy), SME development agencies and investment promotion agencies. Other participants include policy makers from ministries of finance, trade, labour and education; development banks; economic research centres; and international organisations. Private enterprises and the financial sector actively participate in the Working Group and are the primary beneficiaries of the initiative.

The Working Group covers relevant topics such as:

  • improving the business climate for SMEs
  • promoting start-ups and SME growth, including among youth and women
  • facilitating access to finance
  • strengthening the legal and regulatory framework
  • increasing the availability of financing

MENA SME working group chart

Related Activities

  • Training seminars on SME and competitiveness policies at the IMF Centre for Economics and Finace (CEF) in Kuwait City

Since 2012, the OECD and the Middle East Centre for Economics and Finance (CEF) of the International Monetary Fund organise annual trainings on improving policies for competitiveness, SME policies, public integrity and public procurement in the MENA region. The courses take place in Kuwait City and are conducted by experienced OECD staff and international experts in the areas of private sector development, access to finance and industrial policies, among others. 




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