SME Competitiveness Outlook 2021 /Empowering the Green Recovery/
The SME Competitiveness Outlook 2021 provides a plan for fostering competitive, resilient and sustainable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SME competitiveness is at the core of ITC’s mission, resilience is a key consideration in post-COVID-19 plans and sustainability is essential if the world is to address the climate crisis. This report shows how these three goals can – and should – be pursued in tandem.
COVID-19 was a harsh reminder of the economic and social damage that come with being unprepared. In addition to its grim toll on human life, the pandemic – and measures to contain it – have battered companies worldwide, both large and small.
For small and medium-sized enterprises, with their scarce resources, surviving the crisis has been daunting. They suffered the most from the pandemic, with 60% of micro and 57% of small businesses strongly affected, compared with 43% of large firms. This is partly because smaller firms record lower levels of resilience, on average, than larger companies.
The pre-COVID-19 resilience score of micro and small firms was 16% lower than that of medium and large firms, according to a survey-based index constructed by the International Trade Centre. Similarly, companies led by youth have lower resilience scores than firms led by people over 34 years of age. While women-led firms in the sample displayed slightly lower scores than those owned and managed by men, the difference was not statistically significant.