Improved SME statistics for evidence-based SME support in the Eastern Partnership

With support delivered by the OECD under the EU4Business initiative, Armenia and Ukraine have improved their statistical systems and started to produce internationally comparable indicators on the structure and performance of the SME sector. This will allow Armenian and Ukrainian governmentsto implement appropriate policy measures to support SME development and monitor their impact on the SME sector.

The production of quality statistics is a prerequisite for good economic policymaking. As part of the EU4Business initiative, the OECD supported governments, statistical offices and central banks in Armenia and Ukraine in developing accurate, timely and internationally comparable indicators on the state of the business economy.

The primary objective of this project implemented in 2017-2018 was to equip policymakers with the tools required to develop a better understanding of the state of play and the performance of the SME sector, design and implement appropriate policies and support instruments, and track their impact on the real economy. Evidence-based policy design helps increase accountability, facilitates monitoring, and allows for results-based evaluation and impact measurement.

Read: Compendium of Enterprise Statistics in Armenia 2018 (available in Armenian)

Read: Compendium of Enterprise Statistics in Ukraine 2018 (available in Ukrainain)

The long lasting impact of EU4Business projects

In Armenia and Ukraine, the OECD helped governments and national statistical offices to implement an established OECD-Eurostat methodology for the production of internationally comparable structural and demographic business statistics. As a result, Armenia and Ukraine now produce a number of business statistics indicators broken down by enterprise size class, which allows to disentangle the specificities of micro, small and medium sized companies from the general business population and track the performance of the SME sector.This will allow policymakers to devise appropriate policy measures to support SME development and monitor their medium- and long-term impact on the SME sector.

EU4Business projects are meant to deliver long-lasting impact. As a result of this project, since 2018, the Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia (Armstat) independently produces an annual Statistical bulletin on small and medium entrepreneurship, which includes data broken down by enterprise size class on several key indicators: number of enterprises, turnover, employees, wages, value added, as well as a number of business demography indicators (birth/death/survival rates of enterprises). Such rigorous evidence base thus provides policymakers new inputs to define baselines and targets for the ongoing work on the new national SME strategy.

Statistical comparisons with EU and non-EU countries are now possible

In an effort to support EaP countries to build the evidence base for SME policymaking, the OECD has put a specific focus on indicators measuring the state of access to finance for SMEs. Through dedicated workshops, the OECD has provided policymakers in EaP with a methodology to map the state of SME financing through a range of indicators on debt finance (volume of outstanding loans, average interest rates applied, non-performing loans, government guaranteed loans, collateral requirements), non-bank finance (venture capital early stage and growth capital investment), and other business dynamics (bankruptcies, B2B payment delays).

As a result of this work, EaP countries are getting closer to OECD standards and good practices, and are increasingly being integrated in OECD indicator systems. In particular, Georgia, Belarus and Ukraine have joined the OECD Scoreboard on SME financing and are now regularly included in the annual publication Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs. An OCED Scoreboard and its corresponding international database, which in its latest 2020 edition covers 48 countries and economies.