World SME Forum launched in Istanbul by G20 Turkish Presidency

World SME Forum has been launched as envisaged by Turkey’s G20 Presidency

23 May 2015 Istanbul – Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Ali Babacan today 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. “SMEs all over the world face hardships in accessing to long term finance and participation to global value chains. A central focus of the Turkish G20 presidency is to unlock the potential of SMEs to stimulate economic growth, trade and employment” he said.

“Considering SMEs’ share in economic activity, it is important to overcome the bottlenecks they face for a more robust growth and employment. With the establishment of this Forum, for the first time there will now be a united and global voice of SMEs”, the Deputy Prime Minister added.

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 also recognized last month by G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors at their meeting in Washington D.C. The G20 has signaled its interest for supporting the WSF mandate to provide advocacy, know-how, and e-knowledge to enable SMEs to better fulfill their potential as an engine of sustainable growth and job creation.

The International Chamber of Commerce (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.”

Based in İstanbul, WSF has been founded through a partnership between the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), the ICC, and ICC’s World Chambers Federation (WCF).

“Over the next three months, we’ll develop a work plan for presentation to G20 in September. 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 Hisarciklioglu, 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 leveling 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. Hisarciklioglu. “SMEs are frequently underrepresented at major international forums, but affected by the so-called ‘unintended consequences’ of new regulations and global initiatives. We are determined to remedy this, and the WSF will advocate for SME interests globally, in cooperation with other international organizations.”

The Founding Partners encourage other representative bodies in the national and global communities such as SME and Trade Associations and National Chambers to become members of the WSF.

For more info:
Hill and Knowlton Strategies
Bilge ESER /  bilge.eser@hkstrategies.com
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