Miriam Koreen, head of the SMEs and Entrepreneurship division was part of the discussion of this session.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) play a key role in the global economy employing billions of people and accounting for a major portion of the gross world product. Often operating in difficult environments, SMEs are highly vulnerable to corruption in all its forms, although they may be less likely than large companies to be involved in large-scale influence-peddling scandals, owing to limited clout. At the same time, SMEs typically lack resources, knowledge, and experience to implement effective anti-corruption measures and conduct their business in compliance with international standards and the applicable legal rules. Growing challenges for SMEs can also arise from lack of transparency and unpredictability of regulation and operating practices in the public sector. Can recent compliance and anti-bribery ISO’s standards be effectively implemented by SMEs, particularly in the emerging and other challenging economies? Can compliance standards contribute to a culture of integrity in SMEs? What do SMEs stand to gain from seeking accreditation under the new ISO standards? What is the role of governments and collective action initiatives in creating incentives for SMEs to implement anti-corruption policies? Can greater small business participation in public decision making reduce SME vulnerability to corruption?