To build a robust Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector, well defined as well as pro-SME enactments and policies are crucial in order to recognize the existence, organization protection and promotion of the interest of SMEs. An effective SME Policy covers all possible areas for SME development ranging from business environment, access to finance, capacity building, support for technology up-gradation, marketing and other significant aspects.
Though the benefits of policies and regulations in an economy tend to be rather equally dispersed over businesses of various sizes, because of their smaller size and limited resources, SMEs can be affected by the costs of regulations more than their bigger competitors. Generally, the key objective of an SME policy is to strengthen the existing base of small enterprises by ensuring they can fully cope up with and compete in the market and that they are not bigoted because of their small size, as compared to large firms. Other objectives of an SME policy may range from removing redundant regulatory burden, institute SME support mechanism in both public & private sectors and to improve support delivery mechanisms.
While formulating policies for SMEs, majorly two key policy choices take precedence over other alternatives, the first being lowering the ‘barriers’ for the SMEs and other is ‘offering support’ to the enterprises. While the former applies to existing SMEs, the later one seeks to advance the creation of small businesses. To create a vibrant entrepreneurial economy requires well defined legislation, pro-SME regulatory and tax environments to advance the entry of new businesses and the active promotion of entrepreneurship in society. SME policies foster start-ups by eliminating administrative burdens and improving incentive structures.
Networking – one of the founding principles of ISSME – is an important aspect of SME development as it helps SMEs establishing or maintaining relationships with people/ companies that could bring business opportunities as well as strengthen & support them. It promotes competitiveness of SMEs, increases sales through referrals, helps learning new things and strategies on managing & expanding businesses, helps finding sources for goods & services and helps stimulating the creativity and finding innovative solutions for new challenges that SMEs face.
In light of the above, policy advocacy is an integral activity of ISSME. It articulates the challenges that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) face at various national, regional and international forums and undertakes various activities towards formulation of broad SME policies; awareness creation/information dissemination on policies & programmes; research studies; build better links with other private sector actors; strengthen SMEs’ position at national & international levels; and provides advisory as well as consultancy services to the SMEs. Likewise, ISSME provides huge networking opportunities through various events organized by it. ISSME’s annual world conference is one of the prestigious and ideal platform that brings together stakeholders of SMEs from different countries, providing them with ample networking opportunities.