The International Society for Small and Medium Enterprises (ISSME) is a non-government, not-for-profit, leading global industry organization working for the promotion of SMEs across the globe since its establishment in 2010. ISSME Foundation Day is celebrated on 29th July each year. ISSME had a very humble beginning with “establishing a true international organization for the wellbeing of SMEs” as its central focus.
In the past three decades, the significant contributions of SMEs in any economy were widely acknowledged across the globe, and caught attention of all quarters including policy makers and international and UN agencies. Recognizing the stellar role played by SMEs, international and UN organizations like World Bank, WIPO, etc. opened special SME division to extend their support to this sector. Many national governments have recently come up with separate Ministry for SMEs and institutionalized various SME support institutions in order to help this key segment perform in a much better way and contribute further to their respective economies. Their number in total enterprise population world over is the most encouraging factor that naturally exhilarates the policy makers, experts and think tanks.
While the world witnessed so much so in the SME sector, there was hardly any international SME association that was truly working for this vibrant sector with representation from all the countries of the world. Although many initiatives had been taken to spearhead the growth of SMEs in all the countries, there was absence of an international platform that would consolidate the works done for the benefits of the SMEs. Among a very few international organizations that are in existence, some are either non-functional rendering hardly any services to the sector and some exist just to organize an annual conference on SMEs. This was the main driving force behind establishing this international organization. This was established with the commitment to enhance the state of SMEs and create a dedicated platform exclusively for SMEs, their support institutions, concerned agencies and other stakeholders.
Poverty and unemployment are like plague that have detrimental effect on social harmony and economic prosperity. It is our world and ISSME, thus, is determined to deal with these two issues seriously and consciously that would make our world a better place to live in. SMEs is the answer in resolving these two problems and, hence, we take the responsibility to enhance the competitiveness of SMEs so that they could vigorously contribute to the establishment of a peaceful and just world. In order to achieve this goal, there is an urgent need to synergize the efforts all the SME stakeholders worldwide in the larger interest of SMEs. It is, thus, with this need to provide an effective and resourceful international platform, ISSME came into existence.
Since the organization was established in 2010, it has a very short history as of now. The efforts put in by ISSME Secretariat, the Organization has made inroads into 25 countries and we have been receiving applications from various SME/ industry associations in expanding our reach to other countries. We have been associated with UN agencies and have consultative/ observer status with several of them. We have strategic alliances with various national, regional and international organizations to work in tandem on areas of mutual interest benefitting SMEs.