June 27: Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day
A Great Source of Employment
Since 2017, Micro-, small and Medium-sized businesses celebrate their day in recognition of their work in local and global economies. These enterprises, which generally employ fewer than 250 persons, are the backbone of most economies worldwide and play a key role in developing countries.
According to the data provided by the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), formal and informal Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) make up over 90% of all firms and account on average for 60-70% of total employment and 50% of GDP.
The General Assembly, recognizing the importance of these enterprises, decided to declare 27 June the Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day to raise public awareness of their contribution to sustainable development.
Micro-, Small and Medium Enterprises, the First Responders to Societal Needs
These types of enterprises are responsible for significant employment and income generation opportunities across the world and have been identified as a major driver of poverty alleviation and development.
MSMEs tend to employ a larger share of the vulnerable sectors of the workforce, such as women, youth, and people from poorer households. MSMEs can even sometimes be the only source of employment in rural areas. As such, MSMEs as a group are the main income provider for the income distribution at the “base of the pyramid”.
MSMEs should be the first responders to societal needs and provide the safety net for inclusiveness.
MSME Day 2019 is not only dedicated to raising awareness of the need for greater investment into small and mid-sized businesses in developing countries. It is also a celebration of the gigantic contribution, away from the spotlight, smaller companies make to the global economy.
Smaller businesses can be agile in response to a changing world but their size also makes them vulnerable. Access to finance is a primary obstacle. Identifying international market opportunities and navigating trade-related procedures can be harder for small businesses than for their larger competitors.
With the goal of overcoming these challenges, the International Trade Center, United Nations’ entity, works in the internationalization of micro and SMEs. It is precisely this center of the UN that launches on this day its flagship report: “The SME Competitiveness Outlook 2019: Big money for small businesses.”
How they Contribute to the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals
Micro-, small and medium sized enterprises are vital in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular in promoting innovation, creativity and decent work for all.
Efforts to enhance access to finance for SMEs across key sectors of national economies are an important element of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG targets 8.3 and 9.3 call for enhancing the access of SMEs to financial services. In addition, SMEs are an important element in the implementation of SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure).
Celebration of the Day
The General Assembly invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations, academia, individuals and other relevant stakeholders, to observe the Day in an appropriate manner and in accordance with national priorities, in order to raise public awareness of their contribution to sustainable development;
It also invites Member States to facilitate the observance of the Day by fostering research presentations, policy discussions, practitioner workshops and business owner testimonials from around the world.