Small and Medium enterprises continue to be the backbone of the Central and Eastern European economies (75% of employment, 60% of private sector value added). The findings of the ILO’s enterprise surveys conducted in 5 countries of Western Balkans and Ukraine as part of its work on an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises (EESE) confirm that complex business regulations, lack of access to finance, competition from informal sector, shortage of skilled labour, and poor infrastructure are among the top five challenges faced by enterprises in the region.
Additional surveys conducted by the ILO and other agencies show that the Covid-19 pandemic hit this important segment of enterprises very hard. Their decline in revenues and employment is higher than for larger enterprises. There is a serious risk that many of the SMEs will have to close down as the fiscal space for public support to enterprises is much smaller than in other parts of Europe.
Main interventions offered
- Entrepreneurship Training (Start and Improve Your Business-SIYB): a set of training packages for different groups ranging from a first orientation for potential start-ups to in-depth training for existing enterprises, read more
- Women’s Entrepreneurship Development (WED): Gender-sensitive training and support services empowering women to start and run their own businesses, read more
- Value Chain Development: Interventions improving the functioning of entire markets or sectors that have the highest potential to create more and better jobs, read more
- Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises (EESE): Advisory services on how to assess the environment in which businesses operate, as well as to formulate, implement, and monitor reform proposals, read more