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SME Competitiveness Benchmarking

  • be smart - be strategic - be sustainable

    Promoting SME Competitiveness is not an end in itself but rather a means to "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all" (SDG 8).

    Download the SME Competitiveness flyer here.

    Strong SMEs are key for economic growth and for inclusive development. Globally, they make up the vast majority of firms and account for large share of GDP and employment. Most importantly, they directly tend to employ the most vulnerable segments of the workforce, including women and young people, and people with little education.

    International value chains provide an opportunity for SMEs to internationalize and scale up their operations. However, only the most competitive SMEs grab the benefits of globalization, so how can value chains be more inclusive? ITC believes that a value chain is only as strong as its weakest link. For this reason, ITC supports governments to design sustainable trade strategies, and enable change in firms’ capacities to compete and participate in international value chains. The aim is for SMEs to become competitive internationally, in order to facilitate growth and employment at the national level.

    ITC has a long-standing experience in assessing SME competitiveness. As such, it can assist governments, investors and business support institutions to:

    • Be smart. ITC's SME Competitiveness Benchmarking allows trade and investment support institutions (TISIs) to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their members and map their set of services. This in turn helps TISIs to design customised services for their members. Engaging national partners ensures national ownership of the process and allows translating data into on-the-ground action. 
    • Be strategic. ITC assists governments, investors and business support institutions to develop their sector and value chain strategies, based on a package of assessment tools. Central among these is the SME Competitiveness Benchmarking tool. 
    • Be sustainable. ITC assists governments in setting up country-wide SME competitiveness data collection exercises. The modular nature of the tool allows tracking progress on three key sustainable development goals: Decent work and economic growth, Gender equality and Quality education. 

    The variety of services available at ITC allows working with partners towards home-grown strategy solutions and translating benchmarking into sustainable development.

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