Micro, Small and Medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are essential drivers of job creation and economic growth In Europe and the neighbouring Mediterranean partner countries. That is why the European Union strategy to improve the business environment for MSMEs included the creation of the Small Business Act (SBA) for Europe, which provides a comprehensive policy framework for institutional and regulatory reforms in Europe. This framework is adapted to guide cooperation on MSME development with and within Mediterranean partner countries. Its implementation is ensured by a network of national coordinators who accompany the deployment of 10 principles of SBAs in close cooperation with relevant institutions and representatives of the private sector and civil society.
Given the key role of SBA coordinators (SBACs), one of the objectives of the MED MSMEs programme is to empower them and reinforce their position, particularly around two of the 10 principles of SBAs: access to finance and the internationalisation of MSMEs . To this end, the programme is providing specific technical assistance to support the SBACs in mobilising and animating two thematic working groups: each one around one of the two areas.
During the year 2020, the MED MSMEs programme mobilised national experts supporting the SBA Coordinators in 5 of the 8 beneficiary countries. In each of these countries, the SBA coordinators were able to set up and organize several meetings and webinars gathering more than 100 professionals from the public sector including ministries and other public agencies; and from the private sector including chambers of commerce, business associations and others. These meetings were key in providing insights and taking stock of the situation of MSME supporting policies and instruments in addition to identifying the specific needs of MSMEs in terms of financing and access to the international markets. The meetings also played a key role in better understanding the new challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, their impact on MSMEs and solutions to overcome the crisis.