Financing small business: a key to economic recovery


19/04/2013 - Access to finance remains a key challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises and a stumbling block to recovery in most countries, according to a new OECD report.


Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2013: An OECD Scoreboard (extract) says small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) requesting loans in 2011 generally faced higher interest rates than in 2009-2010. Credit conditions continued to be tougher for SMEs than for larger companies as small businesses faced shortened maturities and increased demands for collateral. In a number of countries, the interest rate spread between SMEs and large firms grew in 2011.


The analysis of financial indicators from 25 countries between 2007-2011 shows that SME lending grew moderately in many developed economies. The more pronounced increase in financing of small companies in emerging economies was accompanied by a rapid expansion of credit to the business sector overall.


The report added that the European sovereign debt crisis is likely to have led to a further   deterioration in the lending activities of banks in 2012-2013, increasing the constraints on small businesses in those countries most affected.


Investments in venture and growth capital showed signs of recovery in 2011, but generally failed to reach their 2007 pre-crisis levels.


The business environment continues to be challenging for SMEs. Bankruptcy figures remained high in most countries, despite modest downward trends.


According to the OECD, SMEs and entrepreneurs are crucial for tracing new paths to more sustainable and inclusive growth, thanks to their role in developing and diffusing innovation and providing employment. However, they can only fulfil this role if they obtain the finance necessary to start and grow their businesses.


The OECD report fills a longstanding gap in data needed to monitor SMEs’ financing conditions using comparable indicators. Released annually, it aims to increase understanding of SME financing needs, helps in the design and evaluation of policies and monitors the implications of financial sector reforms on access to funding for small businesses. The report provides detailed country profiles of financial conditions for SMEs in the 25 countries covered, with a thematic chapter on the role of credit guarantee schemes in enhancing SMEs’ access to finance.


The countries covered in the report include: Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey the UK, and the US.


For more information, contact Miriam Koreen, Head of the OECD’s SME and Entrepreneurship Division (; tel:  +331 4524 8141) or OECD’s Media Division (; tel: + 331 4524 9700).


For further OECD work on SMEs and Entrepreneurship, please visit: 


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