OECD Ministerial Conference on Strengthening Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Entrepreneurship for Productivity and Inclusive Growth and Ministerial Declaration



Ministers and high-level representatives from 55 OECD Member and Non-Member countries, the European Union, and 12 international organisations and associations gathered in Mexico City, Mexico on 22-23 February 2018 at the OECD Ministerial Conference on SMEs to discuss how to enable SMEs to enhance their contributions to productivity and inclusive growth.

Under the guidance of the Chair, Minister Ildefonso Guajardo (Mexico) and the Vice-Chairs Minister Stuart Nash (New Zealand), State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch (Switzerland), Vice-Minister Hasan Ali Çelik (Turkey), the Ministerial Conference took place at a time when governments are seeking innovative solutions to address low productivity growth, concerns about international trade, and rising or persistently high inequality. 

The Conference addressed a range of issues, including:

  • Enabling SMEs to scale up
  • Enhancing SME access to diversified financing instruments
  • Fostering greater SME participation in a globally integrated economy
  • Improving the business environment for SMEs through effective regulation
  • Business transfer as an engine for SME growth
  • Developing entrepreneurial competencies
  • Promoting innovation in established SMEs
  • Inclusive entrepreneurship
  • Monitoring and evaluation of SME and entrepreneurship programmes

Issues related to digital transformation were pervasive in the discussions, testifying to the profound impact of digital technologies. The importance of stakeholder engagement, including direct engagement with SMEs and potential entrepreneurs, was highlighted throughout the Conference.

The Conference pointed to the importance governments attach to SMEs and entrepreneurs, and the necessity to enable them to contribute more fully to productivity and inclusive growth. by promoting effective SME policies, enhancing entrepreneurial opportunities for all, and enabling SMEs to make the most of the digital transformation and the global economy.

It underlined the need for whole-of-government approaches and evidence-based policies to foster SME development and growth and recognised the central role the OECD plays in analysis, policy dialogue, exchange of best practices and tailored policy support to governments.

At the closing session of the Ministerial Conference, 55 countries, including all OECD Members and 20 non-OECD Members, as well as the European Union, adopted the Declaration on Strengthening Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Entrepreneurship for Productivity and Inclusive Growth