The Bologna Charter was adopted by Ministers responsible for SMEs and Industry Ministers at the Bologna Conference on Enhancing the Competitiveness of SMEs in the Global Economy: Strategies and Policies, 14-15 June.
Governments worldwide have come to recognise the importance of SMEs and their contribution to economic growth, social cohesion, employment, regional and local development. Today, globalisation and technological change bring new opportunities for SMEs to enter foreign markets and to reduce business costs, but there are also transition costs, new competitive challenges and risks.
The Conference aimed to increase the understanding of issues and policies related to SME competitiveness in the global economy - in particular, with regard to innovation, clusters and industrial districts, and electronic commerce - and to propose concrete and feasible initiatives through which the globalisation of SMEs may be facilitated.
Attention was also given to issues and challenges faced by SMEs in emerging and transition economies and developing countries with a view to enhancing their partnerships with SMEs in OECD countries and to deepening the partnership between OECD Members and non-members in the area of SME policies.
The Conference was preceded by a Business Symposium on 13 June. The Symposium aimed to offer business organisations and individual firms (both small and large) the opportunity to discuss the conference workshop themes, strengthen their co-operation at international level and influence government policies. Some 300 invitees attended the Business Symposium.