Looking for the New Normal

Apr 22, 2022 3:00:00 PM

Last week, we organized the launch event of our Business at OECD (BIAC) SME Survey “Looking for the New Normal” report, which identifies how small businesses have adapted to new challenges that are changing business practices, and what digital tools will be useful for their future resilience. Held at the OECD, we broadcasted the event simultaneously through Zoom, and brought together OECD, government and business representatives. 

 

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Opening the conference, our SME and Entrepreneurship Committee Chair Patrik Kovács stressed the role SMEs play in our global economies and how the OECD can advance best practices sharing, and ensure SMEs can strengthen the real economy.  “This is why focus on SMEs, and in particular, putting emphasis on stimulating innovation, entrepreneurship and small business development is one of our top 10 Business at OECD priorities for 2022.”

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Martin Godel, the chair of OECD Committee on SMEs and Entrepreneurship, underlined how SMEs and Entrepreneurship are the backbone of OECD economies. “It is encompassed by the work of Business at OECD, which represents a very important partner for our committee to give SMEs and Entrepreneurs a central role in the policy agenda of the OECD and its member countries” said Mr. Godel. Celine Kauffmann, Head of the Entrepreneurship SME and Tourism Division also expressed her appreciation for the results of the survey, which informs the Committee on the critical topic of strengthening SME resilience, particularly in the context of market uncertainty.

 

In his introduction of the findings of the Survey, our policy manager Rokas Morkunas stressed:
 
  1. Overwhelmingly, 94% of SMEs have had to temporarily interrupt their production and/or operations, deal with numerous staff and organizational issues, challenges to production and logistics organization and other issues. Looking ahead, over half of small businesses worry that market uncertainty will be the biggest challenge in returning to pre-covid operational capacity;
  2. SMEs have used the opportunities that the pandemic restrictions have brought to digitize both, their working practices and services provided – 4 in 5 SMEs have adopted and will continue adopting various digital solutions to their business. This also includes that only 1 in 3 SMEs are planning to return to full presence at the office;
  3. The New Normal for SMEs will include strengthening business resilience and adapting to new challenges to better prepare for future crises. Over 70% of SMEs say they will adopt digital and new technologies to achieve this goal.
 
 
Policy action should be oriented towards developing a comprehensive approach and look at digitalization, sustainable solutions and integration into global value chains as parts of a broader SME strategy, which must go hand in hand with addressing these challenges. The findings of our survey showcase the key lessons learned, identify key remaining challenges, and enable discussions to explore what policies SMEs and entrepreneurs need to continue thriving.

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