104th International Labour Conference

Getting it right for small and medium-sized enterprises

How to support small and medium-sized enterprises through government policies is a focus of debate at this year's International Labour Conference.

Date issued: 02 June 2015 | Size/duration: 02:58

Employing roughly two thirds of workers worldwide, SMEs face a number of constraints and challenges including access to credit, lack of skills, and transitioning from the informal to formal economy says the Chair of the SME committee, Bulgaria's Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Zornitsa Roussinova. (Closed Captions available)


Small and medium-sized enterprises are very important in the world of work. Because due to the evidence report produced by the ILO for this conference we recognize that approximately two thirds of the employed people all over the world work in small and medium-sized enterprises. And it's a potential for big challenges on the labour market. The review of the work of the committee this week and the next week during the session of the conference is very important because we have to recognize what are the constraints, what are the challenges and to conclude what would be the effective and most productive policies worldwide.

The committee is discussing and committing a lot of interesting facts about SMEs and how the policies on the labour market should be later on be reflected within governments and within social partners. For example, one of the biggest constraints is the access to financing. So all ways and policies that governments can implement to improve the access to small and medium-sized enterprises to financing, to provide them support on training the entrepreneurs and training the staff how to better manage the companies is one of the key policies that is discussed within the committee.

I would say that it's not so much controversial, more or less a debate that is part of our common work between employers, between workers and governments. It's a really hot debate, because some of the issues are quite different from country to country and from the perspective of the employers and the workers. Of course the workers are much more willing to protect more and more rights of the workers in the small and medium-sized enterprises, but that should be done in balance within the interests of the entrepreneurs themselves.

What we want to achieve is to have consensus between all governments and all social partners on what the key issues and conclusions, based on the evidence provided by ILO, how these small and medium-sized enterprises can be supported through the government policies. One of the key factors for their role in the labour market is the transition from informal to formal economy. It's also very important to notify what are the working conditions for the people in the small and medium-sized enterprises and what can be done for these conditions to be improved also.