Launch of the 2023 Highlights of Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs: An OECD Scoreboard
Webinar: Higher rates, uncertain fates? Harnessing SME finance to build resilience
15 March 2022 14:00-15:30 CET Virtual
WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
SMEs are facing a perfect storm of challenges. In the wake of a series of interest rate hikes aimed at stemming inflation, financial conditions have tightened significantly, impacting the accessibility and cost of finance for many SMEs worldwide. With many firms still recovering from the pandemic and paying down their debt, higher costs are contributing to depressing demand for debt finance. At the same time, SMEs and start-ups continue to face important challenges in accessing equity markets, which have also taken a hit as investors benefit from the higher interest rate environment to shift to lower-risk investments. The sharp increase in prices and energy costs is also impacting SME profits, thereby affecting their capacity to make critical investments, notably in the green and digital transitions. However, SMEs risk paying the price of delaying these investments in terms of innovation and competitiveness. If SMEs are not able to build resilience, they won’t be prepared for the next crisis around the corner, threatening their ability to thrive, and even survive.
This webinar, organised by the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, presented the new 2023 Highlights of Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs: An OECD Scoreboard. It brought together experts, policy makers, public and private financial institutions, researchers, and SME representatives to explore the key challenges and potential solutions to ensure that SMEs have access to the finance they need in a context of high inflation and macroeconomic uncertainty, as well as the policy instruments needed to meet SME investment needs to adapt to ongoing transformations.
Discussions centred on a number of key questions:
How are SME finance trends being shaped by the recent successive crises?
How can we leverage the current economic environment to enhance the diversification of SME finance sources and instruments? What solutions can Fintech offer in this regard?
How can the negative consequences of a potential delay in SME investments be averted? What role can public financial institutions play to ensure SME investment needs are met, in particular with regard to the green and digital transitions?