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SME Competitiveness Outlook 2015

Connect, Compete and Change for Inclusive Growth

image of SME Competitiveness Outlook 2015

This report looks at the missing link to inclusive growth for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which are less productive relative to large firms in the developing world than in the developed world. Based on three pillars of competitiveness "connect, compete and change" the SME Competitiveness Grid presented here makes it easy to spot strengths and weaknesses of enterprises. It determines whether these reflect weaknesses at the firm level, within their business environment or in the national environment. This helps countries understand the nature of their SME competitiveness and what is inhibiting them. Using firm-level data, this report finds that many of the biggest gaps between small and large firms are in the "connect" pillar. It is targeted at SME experts, trade and investment institutions, businesses, and governments. It is the first in an annual series.

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Executive summary

SMEs are the missing link to inclusive growth. SMEs account for approximately 60-70% of total employment. The wages paid by SMEs are significantly lower than those paid by large firms. This is largely because their productivity lags behind large firm productivity. Addressing the ‘productivity gap’ is crucial for inclusive growth. This report argues that to increase productivity, firms must connect, compete and change.

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