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MSMEs: Key to an inclusive & sustainable recovery

The COVID-19 crisis has taught us that the pandemic and containment measures do not impact everyone in the same way. Among the private sector, Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), especially those led by women, youth, ethnic minorities and migrants, suffered the most. An International Trade Centre survey on COVID-19 impact among businesses in 136 countries has shown that nearly 62% of women-led small businesses have been strongly affected by the crisis, compared to just over half of firms led by men, and women-owned are 27% more likely not to survive the pandemic.

As governments vaccinate their populations, the world continues to deal with several other challenges that include the ongoing effects of climate change, biodiversity lost, and pollution. If unabated, these three crises are expected to have severe negative implications for economic growth, human health and ecosystems, employment and livelihoods. What lessons can we capture from COVID-19 response to ensure that MSMEs are resilient to the looming climate crisis, and are drivers of an inclusive transition towards more sustainable economies?

Formal and informal MSMEs make up over 90% of all firms and account, on average, for 70% of total employment and 50% of GDP. As such, they are key actors in achieving a green recovery.


Past UN Events

As micro, small and medium-sized enterprises emerge stronger from the aftermath of COVID-19, the United Nations and its partners celebrate the pivotal role that these resilient entrepreneurs play in strengthening the global economy.

In order to find inspiration in these difficult times, the United Nations hosts three special events:

SME Competitiveness Outlook 2021: Empowering the Green Recovery

Thursday, 24 June 2021 / 9:00 – 9:45 EDT / 15:00 - 15:45 CEST  

MSME Digital
Champions Initiative

Friday, 25 June 2021 / 9:00 – 9:45 EDT  /  15:00-15:45 CEST 

UN MSME Day Event: MSMEs: Key to an inclusive and sustainable recovery

Monday, 28 June 2021 / 08:00-10:30 EDT / 14:00-16:30 CEST

Join International Trade Centre virtually for the TV talk show 'Empowering the Green Recovery', with key findings from the 2021 edition of the International Trade Centre's annual flagship report, the SME Competitiveness Outlook. Watch business and trade leaders discuss lessons from the pandemic for climate change and the launch of the Green Recovery Plan to support small business. Watch the live talk show on the ITC Facebook and LinkedIn and engage in the live chat, and to come with questions for ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton.

We are calling business support organizations and non-governmental organizations to submit innovative ideas that helps small, exporting businesses in going digital. The initiative will be officially launched on 25 June at 14:00 CEST through a Zoom event. Winners will be announced at the 12th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Geneva from 30 November to 3 December 2021.

Achieving the SDGs, and an economy that is greener and fairer requires resilient and flourishing MSMEs everywhere. A live panel discussion with entrepreneurs from Argentina, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya and Senegal who will share insights on how they contribute to an inclusive and sustainable recovery. In high-level plenary segments, leaders from government, international organizations, business support organizations, and the private sector will share priorities to support MSMEs on this path. Watch the event live on UN WebTV.

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