Supporting SME competitiveness in the Eastern Partner countries


Across the region, SMEs account for over 95% of private companies  and play an important role as key engines for further economic growth and employment. The SME Policy Index: Eastern Partner Countries 2012 implemented in 2011-2012 with EU support, revealed that all Eastern Partner countries are taking steps towards developing an SME policy framework, however significant challenges remain for the entire region.

The Supporting SME Competitiveness Reforms in the Eastern Partner countries project assists the six Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine) with the implementation of policy reforms based on policy recommendations stemming from a first  Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) assessment carried out in 2010-2012. The assessment was produced by the European Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Training Foundation and the OECD, and published in the SME Policy Index: Eastern Partner countries 2012. A key component of the project, in assisting with implementation, is policy dialogue through capacity building and peer review at regional level.

In parallel, a second SBA assessment will be undertaken in 2014-2015, within the framework of the SME Policy Index 2015 project. This work will measure convergence to the Small Business Act for Europe and progress made in SME policy implementation over time (2012–2015), compared with the results of the first edition of the 2012 SME Policy Index.

It will also contribute to the regional policy dialogue between SME policy makers in the region, notably by providing a set of recommendations for further policy reforms. These projects are implemented within the framework of the SME Panel of the Eastern Partnership. The main goal of the Eastern Partnership is to create the conditions to accelerate political association and deepen economic integration between the EU and the Eastern European partner countries. The SME Panel, launched in 2010, supports the development of SMEs and improvement of the business environment in Partner countries for Eastern Partner SMEs and European SMEs alike.

Eurasia Competitiveness Roundtable
SME Policy Index Overview
SME Competitiveness Reforms in Armenia
Small Business Act for Europe

EU sources
DG Entreprise and Industry
DG Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid
European External Action Service

Regional workshop, 30 June-2 July: Agenda
Capacity building seminar, 19-22 May: Agenda l Press release

‌Capacity building seminar: Enhancing SME policies in the Eastern Partner Countries 19-22 May 2014

Expected results of these two projects include:

Country-specific reform guidelines and policy roadmaps to enhance SME competitiveness developed for three Eastern Partner countries through public-private dialogue mechanisms

Peer Review of SME policy reform efforts carried out through the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Roundtable

Better understanding of policy makers on relevant policy instruments for SME policy‑making and implementation methods through policy dialogue activities

Increased capacity of policy makers to implement reforms through selected coaching and capacity building activities

Updated assessment of SME policies in Eastern Partner countries, through the SME Policy Index 2015, as a tool for policy makers to benchmark performance across the region

The project is co-financed by the European Union