Small Business Act Assessment


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute to the economic performance and sustainable and inclusive development of societies in the South East Europe and Türkiye. However, the policies in the region aimed at fostering entrepreneurship as well as the growth and survival of SMEs are not yet on par with those of OECD and EU member countries. The SEE regional programme has played an important role in stimulating convergence towards OECD and EU standards by regularly benchmarking the progression of SME policies in the region through the SME Policy Index. Developed by the OECD and its partner organisations (European Union, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and European Training Foundation),  on the basis of the Ten Principles of the Small Business Act (SBA) for Europe, the Index identifies strengths and weaknesses in policy design, implementation and monitoring.

SMEs in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo* , Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Türkiye (the seven pre-EU accession economies) account for 72% of private-sector employment and generate around 60% private-sector value added. The region’s SMEs were hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, which negatively affected their liquidity, and now the recent increases in inflation and energy costs – consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – risk limiting SMEs’ recovery.

The SME Policy Index publication aims to steer region’s SME policies towards ensuring sustainable economic development as well as further alignment of policy frameworks with OECD and EU standards. It contains detailed analyses on the progress and challenges in implementing the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) by reviewing policy areas relevant for SMEs such as access to finance, business support services, greening and internationalisation. By assessing and benchmarking the development of the region’s business environment for SMEs, governments are able to adapt their policies to the strengths and weaknesses in policy design, implementation and monitoring, based on good practices in peer economies and OECD and EU member states. Over 600 government representatives from the Western Balkans and Türkiye as well as local and regional stakeholders, including SMEs, were actively involved in the preparation of this assessment.  

The sixth edition of the flagship publication SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2022, co-funded by the European Union, was launched at the Dubrovnik Forum – “A Quest for Balance in a World Disrupted” on Friday, 8 July 2022 in ‌Dubrovnik, Croatia, by Mr. Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, Mr Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, European Commission ‌and Mr. Gordan Grlić Radman, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Croatia. 

The launch set the scene for the Dubrovnik Forum by outlining the key findings and recommendations to support SMEs and entrepreneurs in their recovery from the pandemic and make economies (through SME sector) more resilient to current and future shocks.  

The Dubrovnik Forum,an annual event organised by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia and hosted by the Prime Minister of Croatia to discuss with high level policy makers pressing global challenges and consequences on South East Europe and beyond, brought together a multitude of public including government representatives from the Western Balkans and Türkiye, senior officials from the EU and OECD member states, and high-level representatives of international organisations.

In September 2022, the OECD South East Europe Regional Programme organised a series of roundtables in each of the six Western Balkan economies and Türkiye (WBT), which all saw high-level participation and wide public interest (400+ participants attended in total).



Read the Pocketbook summary of the publication. 

Read two-pagers for: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North MacedoniaSerbia and Türkiye

Consult presentation: Launch of the SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2022 




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ContactsJovana PAVLOVIC DJUKIC & Marijana PETROVIC, Project Managers

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*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence 


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