Turkish government launches World SME Forum as part of its G20 strategy
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Ali Babacan has announced the official launch of the World SME Forum (WSF), a major new initiative to drive the contributions of small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) to global economic growth and employment.
“The SME sector is vital to the world economy, and small business is the powerhouse of employment, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Mr Babacan. “A central focus of the Turkish G20 presidency is to unlock the potential of SMEs to stabilize the economy and stimulate economic growth, trade and employment,” he said.
Turkey has championed inclusiveness as one of the key priorities for the G20, and the establishment of the WSF—with its focus on small business worldwide—delivers a tangible achievement halfway through Turkey’s G20 presidency.
The establishment of the WSF was endorsed last month by G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors at their annual Spring meeting in Washington. The G20 has signalled its interest in supporting the WSF mandate to provide advocacy, know-how, and e-knowledge to enable SMEs to better fulfil their potential as an engine of sustainable growth and job creation.
ICC Secretary General John Danilovich said: “There is broad recognition that SME growth will be a central driver of economic growth over the next decade. The WSF will play a key role in helping SMEs tap global markets for the first time—and will ensure that global policies are designed with the needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs in mind.” .
WSF has been founded through a partnership between the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and ICC’s World Chambers Federation (WCF).
ICC Secretary General John Danilovich said: “There is broad recognition that SME growth will be a central driver of economic growth over the next decade. The WSF will play a key role in helping SMEs tap global markets for the first time—and will ensure that global policies are designed with the needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs in mind.”
“Over the next six months, we’ll develop a work plan for presentation to G20 Leaders in Antalya. We need their support to ensure that our work becomes a standing priority for the G20 going forward,” Mr Danilovich added.
With the G20 now widely regarded as a powerful agenda-setting body to drive implementation through international organizations, the newly established WSF provides a direct channel for G20 Leaders to mandate greater attention to and support for SMEs.
Rifat Hisaciklioglu, Chairman of B20 Turkey and President of TOBB said: “Since the first G20 Business Summit in Seoul in 2010, the B20 has called on the G20 to address the constraints SMEs face in the global marketplace. Now we are offering a concrete mechanism for levelling the playing field and delivering the kind of support SMEs have needed for years.”
WSF represents an innovative form of private-public cooperation to spur economic growth and employment in line with existing G20 commitments.
“SMEs throughout the world face significant barriers to doing business and WSF will be committed to give them the lift that would result in win-win outcomes for everybody,” said Mr Hisaciklioglu.
“SMEs are frequently unrepresented at major international forums but affected by the so-called ‘unintended consequences’ of new global regulations and initiatives. We are determined to remedy this, and WSF will advocate for SME interests globally, in cooperation with other international development organizations.”
The founding partners encourage other representative bodies in national and global communities, such as SME and trade associations and national chambers, to become members of the WSF.