Empowering Serbia’s SME sector: MSP100 Expo 2023 and SME Compass Launch

On November 9, 2023, the second annual conference, “MSP100 Expo 2023: People – The Key to Success,” took place at the Science and Technology Park Niš. It brought together more than 300 participants – over 100 leading domestic SMEs showcasing their excellence[1] and representatives from government institutions, business associations, media, the banking sector, and NGOs. Through panels and workshops, discussions revolved around essential support systems, green transition, and its significance for export markets and workforce development. The conference provided an excellent platform for dialogue and experience exchange among the business sector, government institutions, and the banking sector, emphasizing collaboration between authorities and businesses as crucial for sustainable growth and global competitiveness.

At the conference, the SME Compass, an innovative tool developed by the Big Small Businesses Project and CEVES, was officially launched to help all interested parties understand the SME sector better and implement concrete activities based on relevant data. The tool is free and can be used by companies, media, civil society organizations, institutional representatives, donors, and projects. The SME Compass provides an assessment of sector competitiveness and detailed insight into the factors affecting it. These indicators are derived from financial reports of over 20,000 businesses, a dedicated SME compass survey encompassing 1,500 firms, and additional datasets from surveys conducted by the Statistical Office. By design, the index offers a comprehensive, representative snapshot of SME competitiveness, dissecting nuances across varied dimensions, including business size, geographic location, and sector of activity. In the coming months, a full-blown campaign to promote SMEs will help key stakeholders and users understand the sector’s needs more efficiently and facilitate the development of strategies and support programs aimed at strengthening the business ecosystem in Serbia.

[1] The list contains leading domestic SMEs selected according to clearly defined criteria of excellence and potential to contribute to the sustainable development of Serbia in the next decade.