• International SME Enterprise Day

Internal SME Enterprise Day


In 2017, the UN General Assembly created a recurrent international small, medium-sized enterprise day on June 27, in recognition of the SME segment.

90% of enterprises in the world are micro-, small- and medium-sized, and they account for about 70% of private sector employment and 50% of GDP.  This segment can quite rightfully be considered the engine that will sustain growth for long-term development both in developing countries, but also in mature markets – where the dynamic mid market (quite often family businesses) and innovative start-ups  are the backbone of the local economy.

Yet it is also this sector that will most likely be the first to suffer serious consequences of the economic downturn.  While smaller businesses are generally more agile in response to a changing world, their size also makes them more vulnerable.

BDO European Survey – Combatting the crisis with business resilience - May 2020
A recent BDO survey on the impact of the pandemic on European businesses – and in particular the SME market – revealed that most businesses have switched focus from growth to resilience to mitigate the impact of the crisis.  Though the crisis has hit businesses in different ways, most of the +240 senior business leaders from 8 European countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, UK) believe that, given the right focus on cost reduction and an adapted business model, they have the resilience to overcome the crisis.

The pandemic has exposed specific vulnerabilities, such as supply chain and operations, the need for exhaustive digitisation of sales, client experience and employee retention and engagement. 

But every crisis also results in new learnings and new opportunities.  The business leaders interviewed now look at their current strategies with a new set of eyes, and talk about refreshing their strategies, about better financial planning, a new operational design and about a different way of working – with more flexibility for their employees, and different ways to engage with clients and staff.

The full results of the survey will be published early July on our website.

BDO has been working together with and advising the mid-market for many years, resulting in an in-depth understanding of the market challenges and needs, and a trusted relationship with many of these businesses, each unique in its approach.

Keith Farlinger, Global CEO BDO says: ‘What is so typical for the mid-market is their amazing passion and agility.  They are fast thinkers and swift decision makers and they are great at identifying and exploiting new opportunities.  No surprise, the SME segment has been a sweet spot for innovation and sustainable development.  How the global economy recovers from this pandemic will be significantly impacted by how resilient this important segment is.  It will take time to recover, but I am confident that – given the right support from government – the SME segment will remain that crucial backbone of our economy.  During the crisis, I have witnessed several medium-sized businesses devastated by the close down of the economies and they will need all their experience and strength to recreate themselves.  Still others have been able to make timely, yet well-thought through decisions to rethink their business and operating models, allowing them to take the decisive actions needed to overcome this difficult period.  I have the highest respect for the way the mid-market operates, and I am convinced that it will even lead to new innovative entrepreneurship in the new reality.’