Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities


Framework for the Evaluation of SME and Entrepreneurship Policies and Programmes 2023

Evaluation is the foundation of evidence-based policy. Yet there is a dearth of reliable impact evaluation in the area of SME and entrepreneurship policy. This publication issues OECD guidance on how governments can promote reliable SME and entrepreneurship policy evaluation. It emphasises practices including using control groups, setting clear policy objectives and targets and accounting for business survival and non-survival. It shows that reliable evaluation of SME and entrepreneurship policy is increasingly accessible given improvements in data and techniques in recent years and illustrates this with examples of 50 reliable evaluations across many SME and entrepreneurship policy areas and 28 OECD countries. Overall, the publication issues a call for more systematic and reliable evaluation of SME and entrepreneurship policies following the guidance offered. The publication also examines the findings of reliable evaluations internationally, including meta evaluations. The evidence is mixed but generally more robust and consistent for policies to improve access to finance than in the provision of training and advisory services. Some policies have positive impacts on key measures whereas others do not. The reasons are explored, including variations in the targeting of policies and in policy delivery approaches.

Available from February 13, 2023

In series:OECD Studies on SMEs and Entrepreneurshipview more titles


Reader’s Guide
Executive Summary
Part I: Evaluation principles and state of evaluation practice2 chapters available
What is evaluation and why do it?
The state of play in SME and entrepreneurship policy evaluation
Part II: Review of methods and findings from reliable evaluations3 chapters available
Existing meta-evaluations
Review of 50 programme evaluations from 28 OECD countries
Synthesis and implications
Part III: Learning the lessons5 chapters available
Why do SME and entrepreneurship policy evaluations provide mixed evidence of impact?
What are the implications of the evaluation evidence for refocusing SME and entrepreneurship policy?
What needs to be improved in SME and entrepreneurship policy evaluation?
What issues did COVID-19 SME and entrepreneurship support highlight for evaluation?
Re-stating the key policy and evaluation messages
Annexes4 chapters available
Explanation of the template for the 50 evaluation profiles
Methods and findings of the 50 individual evaluations
Examples of other relevant evaluation studies not included in the report
Brief description of included evaluation methods
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