Supporting SME Competitiveness Reforms

Start/end date: 
2013 - 2017
Implementing partner: 
EU budget: 
€2.5 million

The project assists Eastern Partnership countries in the implementation of policy reforms based on policy recommendations from the OECD’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Policy Index, contributing to improved government responsiveness to SME needs and requests, and to improved public-private dialogue at national level.


  • To assist Eastern Partnership countries in the implementation of policy reforms based on the policy recommendations outlined in the SME Policy Index.
  • To increase government responsiveness to SME needs and facilitate improved public-private dialogue at national level.
  • To strengthen policy dialogue and peer review at regional level with regard to SME competitiveness in the EaP region.
  • To increase co-operation between SME stakeholders from the EaP region and facilitate exchange of best practices.


  • Policy makers;
  • Government agencies;
  • Business intermediaries;
  • SMEs 


The programme supports activities carried out on country as well as regional levels. Country-level activities are provided in those countries that have expressed high‑level political commitment in implementing SME policy reforms and those that have agreed to a peer review examination of these reforms. Activities at regional level involve all Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries.

Country level

  • Data collection, analysis and country-missions to develop policy reform or policy acts in support of implementation of policy recommendations of the SME Policy Index.
  • Workshops to prepare countries for peer review examination.
  • Coaching and capacity building workshops to support reform implementation.

Regional level

  • Capacity building activities through policy seminars for policy makers.
  • Establishment of a regional platform in the form of the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Roundtable.


As a result of country level support, roadmaps for policy reforms are developed and submitted for peer review to the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Roundtable. The peer reviews are forward-looking and recommend policy solutions to specific challenges faced by the countries under review. They are led by expert practitioners from OECD member countries and lead to discussions among partner countries, business associations and representatives from other international organisations. So far, peer reviews have been carried out for Moldova (Access to finance, and Business development services), Armenia (Connecting Armenian SMEs to global value chains – The case of Agribusiness, and Linking multinational enterprises and Armenian SMEs – The case of the construction material sector), Georgia (Recommendations for Georgia's SME Development Strategy 2016-2020), Ukraine (Improving the framework for energy service companies – ESCOs), and Belarus (Strengthening SME capabilities through a sustainable market for business development services). Following the peer review, country-level support in the implementation of reform roadmaps is provided and progress in reform implementation is monitored by the Roundtable three years after the first peer review. Stakeholders have been included in capacity building activities and contribute to policy formulation and roadmaps through their participation in working groups.