Despite recognizing the constraints of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and realizing the need for improving the competitive strength of SMEs, developing countries are constrained to extend the required support to them owing to their own limitations. Though bi-lateral cooperation has its own place in assisting a country develop appropriate SME policies and programmes, the support of international or multi-national organizations has an added advantage in terms of its much wider exposure to various issues. There are many such international organizations like ISSME that are already involved in extending support and assistance to various developing countries in establishing SME-friendly ambience. They focus on various priority areas such as human resources development; information access; technology and technology sharing; financing; market access, etc. for the development of SMEs.
These international organizations continuously work and consciously put in efforts for creating competitive small enterprises as they have huge potential to resolve the twin problems of extreme poverty and unemployment as well as bring social harmony. Organizations like World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Asia Pacific Economic Council (APEC), World Customs Organizations (WCOs), European Union, African Union, World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Association for South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Inter-American Development Bank, African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank and many more have already been working in different parts of the world and have years of success in assisting small entrepreneurship development. Similarly, there are various donor agencies such as USAID and (USA), CIDA (Canada), SIDA (Sweden), GTZ & KFW (Germany) and DFID (UK) that have been working in different countries across the globe.
Multilateral development agencies are active in several countries of Asia and Africa. SME Department of the World Bank/International Finance Corporation has taken up programmes in several African and Asian countries. Intergovernmental agencies such as APEC have also set up SME working Group to help member states benefit from each other. Within European Union, one could find a considerable degree of cooperation among countries. The office of European Commission’s (EC) Enterprise Director General and the OECD have been playing a very important role in this regard.
ISSME has already been working with some of the international organization and looks forward to work jointly with more and more such organizations in addressing the plight of SMEs.