Western and Central Africa
Eastern and Southern Africa
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
The SMECS process is composed of 9 steps which ensure the delivery of the stated outputs.
ITC conducts high-level meetings with national policy makers to present the SME Competitiveness Survey. These meetings determine the interest and suitability of potential partners. Partners may play different but complementary roles, including but not limited to: acting as the project focal point, providing firm lists, providing interviewers, collecting the data, and high level championing.
Formalisation of the terms of co-operation: ITC formalizes partnerships with local institutions through Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This sets up the framework for cooperation.Training interviewers: ITC provides the local partner with a specialised distance-training course on how to conduct the SMECS for interviewers (3 lecture e-learning course).Sample selection: ITC collaborates with local partners to create a comprehensive list of firms in the country. The list can be considered as the “population of firms in the country” if it includes firms of different sizes, firms from different locations/regions, and firms operating in different sectors. Once the population of firms is available, a representative sample of firms to be interviewed is drawn through stratified sampling techniques.
Firms are contacted in several steps: first, the local partner sends an information pack to the selected firms. Then, a phone call follows to determine the willingness of firms to participate and take an appointment. Finally, face-to-face interviews are conducted.
ITC analyses the collected data, and interprets it in collaboration with local partners. Partners will also map their existing service offering along the 12 themes. Combined with the results of the firm survey, gaps in service provision can be identified. The analysis is then presented in a country report.
The findings of the report are discussed with national partners, reviewed where necessary and then validated.
The local partner convenes a stakeholder meeting with press coverage where the results of the survey are presented and discussed. Solutions to the problems identified are discussed, and complementary areas of ITC work and technical assistance can be proposed to address them.
Using the results of the survey and the TISI service offering mapping exercise, an Action Plan will be created to help institutions better serve SMEs. This plan will be validated by partners to provide them with a path towards boosting SME competitiveness.
Implementation of the action plan will be overseen by the core team, a group composed of key institutions, setup at the start of the SMECS process. ITC can offer technical advice and support to implement the plan by offering its services or identifying interested donners
ITC and the core team will monitor implementation of the Action Plan. After a period of 2-3 years a new SMECS survey may be undertaken to measure whether SME have increased their competitiveness.