SMEs and entrepreneurship

Brazil hosts an OECD Global Conference on Financing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Entrepreneurship


Access to finance is one of the biggest obstacles to the creation, growth and development of small businesses, according to OECD analysis. Banks are often wary of lending to SMEs. Assets and collateral may not be big enough to underwrite the loans and the track records of small companies – particularly those developing a new idea or technology - are often patchy.

How governments can help entrepreneurs get the funds to develop their business was the focus of a high-level international conference on Better Financing for Entrepreneurship and SME Growth in Brasilia from 27 – 30 March 2006, organised jointly by the OECD and Brazil’s Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade.

This event was inaugurated by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, accompanied by several invited Ministers from OECD and non-OECD countries.  It brought together experts from governments and international organisations, as well as representatives from business and civil society. In total more than 80 countries were represented at the discussions.

Participants called for innovative policy measures to improve access to finance for entrepreneurs and SMEs. Read the OECD Brasilia Action Statement for SME and Entrepreneurship Financing.

The conference aimed to assess the needs of entrepreneurs and SMEs and to find out which policies have been most successful at bridging the apparent gap between the requirements of small businesses and those of investors. The meeting also explored new ways of solving funding problems.

The event built on two OECD ministerial conferences on SMEs: in Bologna, Italy, in 2000, where 48 countries adopted the Bologna Charter  on SME Policies; and in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2004, where 72 countries/economies  stressed in the Istanbul Ministerial Declaration the ways of boosting the competitiveness of small businesses in a globalised economy.

This conference was held in the framework of the OECD Bologna Process on SME and Entrepreneurship Policies which brings together OECD and non-OECD economies for strengthened dialogue and co-operation to foster the entrepreneurship agenda and SME competitiveness at the global level, and encourages increasing co-operation between the OECD and other international organisations in this area.

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Download the flyer of the conference