The celebration of Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day 2021 emphasized the importance for MSMEs to achieve a resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery in the post-COVID-19 world. The virtual event was joined by ministers, senior officials of UN entities, representatives of business support organizations and entrepreneurs to address barriers, showcase best practices and identify big ideas with MSMEs at the center of achieving the SDGs.
MSMEs: the bedrock of our societies
Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), though insignificant in business scale, have been the most crucial backbone of global economic and social development. They account for 90% of businesses, 60-70% of employment, and 50% of GDP worldwide. The abrupt outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic however, has caused unprecedented damages to the MSMEs, especially those led by women, youth, ethnic minorities and migrants, resulting in numerous bankruptcies, loss of livelihoods and widened inequalities. Albeit the improved global growth prospect in 2021, an uneven recovery trend has been seen. With LDCs struggling with COVID-19 rebounds and vaccine shortages, conditions remain rough for their MSMEs to recover and contribute to achieving SDGs in the long term.
A resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery
To achieve a resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery of MSMEs, measures are needed to not only adapt to the devastating impacts of the pandemic, but also account for the ongoing effects of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution to ensure utter resilience to future shocks.
From the government perspective, easy access to financial and digital business support systems for MSMEs are essential, these ensure high efficiency in immediate support for MSMEs. Government can also promote digital business solutions through MSMEs programs to facilitate their transition of business models and strengthen their productivity and resilience during such unprecedented time. To ensure inclusive access to digital technologies for all MSMEs, governments should also provide adequate digital infrastructures in both urban and rural areas, filling the gap of the digital divide among MSMEs.
From the entrepreneurs’ perspective, particularly young and female entrepreneurs in the LDCs, technical support, corporate partnerships and flexible business targets are essential elements to sustainable business operations during crises. However, to overcome barriers for women- and youth-led businesses in making more environmental investments, green financing opportunities, incentives and grants are desperately needed to enable their proactive engagements in achieving the SDGs.
From the perspective of business support organizations, emphasis on education, training and women-youth empowerment on digital innovations are key foundations to address the structural constraints of MSMEs in LDCs and reduce productivity gaps among businesses. Through multilateral efforts, it is anticipated that MSMEs can not only survive, but thrive in the post-COVID-19 world with resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery strategies.
Meeting Title: MSMEs: Key to an inclusive and sustainable recovery – Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day 2021
Date/Location: Monday, 28 June 2021; 08:00-11:45; The meeting was held virtually
Mr. Winslow Sargeant, Incoming Chair, ICSB;
Ms. María del Carmen Squeff, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nation;
Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs;
Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre;
Ms. Isabelle Durant, Acting Secretary General, UN Conference on Trade and Development; and many more
Written by: WIT Representative, Iris Sit