‘World’s most powerful job creators,’ small and medium enterprises vital to achieving Global Goals

Small and medium-sized enterprises are at the heart of ushering decent work, economic growth, and sustainable business, senior UN officials say.

By leveraging their ingenuity and creativity to harness new market opportunities, micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises can lead the way towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a senior United Nations official said today in remarks to a high-level meeting on the issue.

“These enterprises are among the world’s most powerful job creators, drivers of productivity, and agents of growth globally. We simply cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without the support and leadership from such enterprises worldwide,” the UN Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, said in a statement.

By designating 27 June as the annual Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, the UN General Assembly has recognised the importance of these enterprises in achieving the SDGs – especially by promoting innovation, creativity and decent work for all (SDG 8), she continued.

Her remarks were a part of the first-ever Small Business Knowledge Summit held at UN Headquarters in New York, co-organised by Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations, the International Council for Small Business and the UN Office for Partnerships (UNOPS).

The event’s keynote speaker, Linda McMahon, Administrator of the United States Small Business Administration, was expected to be joined by government ministers and representatives, and the world’s foremost industry and academic experts to share expertise and analyse the latest entrepreneurial trends.

Micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises are powerful partners. They can have tremendous impact in embedding responsible business practices and sustainability in today’s complex global value chains.

Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet to UN Secretary General António Guterres

The discussions tackled the global challenge of creating jobs and empowering small businesses.

The goal of the summit is to help the international community strategise on how to remove roadblocks, boost innovation, and improve financing and the regulatory environment for entrepreneurs, to strengthen job creation and sustainable economic growth in support of SDG 8.

The Chef de Cabinet said that micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises represent around 90 per cent of global economic activity. They are on the front lines of embracing transformative technologies and new business models.

“They can lead the way towards achieving the 2030 Agenda. That is why these enterprises are at the heart of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative,” said Ms. Ribeiro Viotti in her remarks, noting that the Compact involves over 9,000 companies from 162 countries committed to doing business responsibly and advancing the SDGs.

Over half of these business participants are small and medium-sized enterprises.

“Micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises are powerful partners. They can have tremendous impact in embedding responsible business practices and sustainability in today’s complex global value chains,” she said adding: “Their power and potential to help us achieve the 2030 Agenda is very clear.”

At the same time, the Chef de Cabinet called for broader cooperation to foster greater economic development and tackle the challenges faced by these enterprises.

This includes partnerships for capacity building, integrating these enterprises into the formal economy, and ensuring greater access to financial services, microfinance and credit.

“In all of these areas, governments, the UN, civil society and business all stand to benefit if we work together. Going forward, June 27 will be an important day for us to renew our resolve to collaborate for a life of dignity for all,” she concluded.

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