The Power of Small: Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Day

A woman with a mask and detergents
Martha Maocha runs a detergent manufacturing company but has recently started making hand sanitising gel, which protects against COVID-19. Bulawayo, April 2020. Photo: KB Mpofu / ILO.

To continue playing their crucial role in creating decent jobs and improving livelihoods, small businesses depend more than ever on an enabling business environment, including support for access to finance, information, and markets.

Let’s not forget that these enterprises, which generally employ fewer than 250 persons, are the backbone of most economies worldwide and play a key role in developing countries.

According to the data provided by the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), formal and informal Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) make up over 90% of all firms and account, on average, for 70% of total employment and 50% of GDP.

That is why the General Assembly declared 27 June Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, to raise public awareness of their contribution to sustainable development and the global economy.

Small matters infography


Explore this infostory to discover the full potential of the MSMEs in securing a better future of work of everyone.

MSME Day 2020 – COVID-19: The Great Lockdown and its impact on Small Business

These types of enterprises are responsible for significant employment and income generation opportunities across the world and have been identified as a major driver of poverty alleviation and development.

MSMEs tend to employ a larger share of the vulnerable sectors of the workforce, such as women, youth, and people from poorer households – populations with high vulnerability in times of COVID-19.

MSMEs can sometimes be the only source of employment in rural areas. As such, MSMEs as a group are the main income provider for income distribution at the “base of the pyramid”.

Did you know?

  • 600 million jobs will be needed by 2030 to absorb the growing global workforce, which makes SME development a high priority for many governments around the world.
  • In emerging markets, most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which create 7 out of 10 jobs.
  • Increasing annual investments in small and medium-sized enterprises by $1 trillion would yield disproportionate dividends in terms of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

What do SMEs need to help them survive?

*SOURCE: United Nations. Go to ORIGINAL.

Read Also:

A woman working in her business

The International Trade Centre, leading agency of this Observance, is closely following how the pandemic is affecting MSMEs, with a particular focus on those small businesses in developing countries. This dedicated section provides insights, guidance and resources for small businesses, and supports organizations and policymakers. Along with it, the International Labour Organization, UNIDO, and the World Bank, among others, join the fight to help these enterprises to cope with the coronavirus’ effects.


Goal 8 logo Decent Work and Economic Growth

Micro-, small and medium sized enterprises are vital in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Efforts to enhance access to finance for SMEs across key sectors of national economies are an important element of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are an important element in the implementation of SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure.)

2020 Human Wrongs Watch

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