SMEs and entrepreneurship

OECD Bologna Process on SME & Entrepreneurship Policies


From Research to Results (2000-2008)

The OECD Bologna Process on SME and Entrepreneurship Policies, launched in 2000, marked an acknowledgement by policymakers of the significance of SMEs and entrepreneurs to economies, and of the role the OECD could play in the policy development process.

Below is a synopsis of the research and events which have followed on from the first OECD SME Ministerial Conference held in Bologna.

1st OECD SME Ministerial Conference on
“Enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs in the Global economy: Strategies and Policies”

14-15 June 2000, Bologna (Italy)



The outcome of the conference, the Bologna Charter on SME Policies, proposes a coherent approach to SME policies with a view to stimulating economic growth and social development, both in OECD countries and the rest of the world. The Charter also provides a frame of reference for countries concerned with improving the efficiency of policies directed at fostering entrepreneurship and assisting the development and competitiveness of smaller firms at the local, national and international levels.

Also availabledocumentation and proceedings (EN / FR / IT)





2nd OECD SME Ministerial Conference on
“Promoting Entrepreneurship and Innovative SMEs in a Global Economy”

3-5 June 2004, Istanbul (Turkey)


Executive Summary of the Background Reports download the PDF

This ministerial conference examined how to promote entrepreneurship as a driving force for innovation, and the effects of globalisation on SMEs and their ability to compete worldwide.

Ministers committed to:

  • Reduce barriers to SME internationalisation.
  • Consider the specific needs of SMEs when formulating legislation.
  • Examine the issues related to SME access to financing and support for innovation.
  • Recognise and build on the role of SMEs as an engine for growth, employment and poverty alleviation.

Policy recommendations were set out in the "Istanbul Ministerial Declaration on Fostering the Growth of Innovative and Internationally Competitive SMEs".

Also availabledocumentation & presentations from the conference.


The Istanbul Ministerial set a forward course for the OECD that led notably to the development of a framework for strengthening evaluation of SME programmes and policies; the establishment of a programme for developing entrepreneurship indicators and the improvement of SME-related data and statistics; and the completion of work on key issues regarding SME financing and internationalisation.


OECD Global Conference on
“Better Financing for Entrepreneurship and SME Growth”

27-29 March 2006, Brasilia (Brazil)

This event was organised to discuss and seek innovative solutions and initiatives for facilitating access to financing for new and small firms, from creation to all stages of their development, with a particular emphasis on innovative firms.

The output of this conference was the OECD Brasília Action Statement for SME & Entrepreneurship Financing.Also available (through the OECD Online Bookshop):

Background report: The SME Financing Gap: Volume I, Theory and Evidence

Conference proceedings: The SME Financing Gap: Volume II - Proceedings of the Brasilia Conference, 27-30 March 2006




OECD-APEC Global Conference on
“Removing Barriers to SME Access to International Markets”

6-8 November 2006, Athens (Greece)



Focussing on better understanding the barriers SMEs face when trying to access international markets, this conference aimed to share knowledge of government interventions to reduce/remove those barriers, and to identify cost effective mechanisms to remove them.

The output of the conference was the Athens Action Plan for Removing Barriers to SME Access to International Markets.

Also available (through the OECD Online Bookshop):

Background report and conference proceedings: Removing Barriers to SME Access to International Markets




OECD Global Conference on
“Enhancing the Role of SMEs in Global Value Chains”

31 May- 1 June 2007, Tokyo (Japan)


This conference discussed how the develompment of global value chains affects the role of SMEs as traditional partners, suppliers and distributors of large firms. It focused on how governments, the business community, and international organisations can facilitate SMEs gainful participation in global value chains through policies, practices and targeted support programmes.

The output of the conference was the OECD Tokyo Statement on Strengthening the Role of SMEs in Global Value Chains.

Also available (through the OECD Online Bookshop):

Background report and conference proceedings: Enhancing the Role of SMEs in Global Value Chains






“Bologna +10” high-level meeting on SMEs and entrepreneurship”

17-18 November 2010 (Paris, France)


Assessment of Government Support Programmes for SMEs' and Entrepreneurs’ Access to Finance in the Global Crisis


High level policymakers, representatives from financial institutions and entrepreneurs from 31 OECD and several non OECD countries met at the OECD in Paris on 17-18 November to design a roadmap to ensure that SMEs and entrepreneurship make their fullest contribution to the job creation needed now to help governments recover from the crisis and to secure sustainable growth over the longer term.  

The meeting took place on the tenth anniversary of the first OECD Ministerial Conference on SMEs, held in Bologna (Italy) in June 2000 (see OECD Bologna Process on SME & Entrepreneurship Policies). 


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