Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Capacity building seminar: Supporting SMEs in a time of crisis: how to choose the right actions (Trento, Italy)


A capacity building seminar
for policy makers and local development practitioners

12-15 October 2009, Trento, Italy



The OECD LEED Trento Centre 



The Training Centre for International Cooperation


Background / Traget Countries / Participants' Profile / 
The Seminar / Material / Contact Details



Small and medium-sized enterprises are key sources of dynamism, innovation, and flexibility. In OECD countries they account for over 95 percent of enterprises, generate two-thirds of employment and are one of the main sources of new jobs. Governments play an important role in stimulating more and stronger business start-ups, and in enabling companies to modernise and grow. They set the environment and policy framework in which new and small firms operate. In developing and transition economies, SMEs are key economic actors in resource allocation and industrial restructuring processes. They provide economic benefits, such as experimentation and adaptability to economic change and the growth of human capital.

Governments have a three-fold role in turning initial stages of entrepreneurship development into employment and economic growth. This involves i) enhancing the conversion of informal entrepreneurship into formal businesses; ii) providing growth and innovation support for companies and start-ups; and iii) addressing skills bottlenecks. To implement an entrepreneurship agenda, national governments will need to partner with local governments, the private sector, and civil society organisations. In finding out what works best and where the likely pitfalls are, much can be learned from OECD countries, Latin America and transition economies.


Target Countries

Central East and South East Europe

Latin America

Bulgaria, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru


Participants' Profile

In order to ensure a dialogue between national and sub-national stakeholders in the entrepreneurship field, two participants were selected in each country between representatives of:

  • National, regional and local governments;
  • Business forums, e.g. chambers of commerce, trade federations, SME agents;
  • The education and training sector;
  • Local and regional development agencies.


The Seminar

The capacity building seminar lasted for 3.5 days and was based on a mix of short presentations by OECD and international experts followed by discussion, group work around practical case studies developed by participants and trainers prior to the seminar, and group work exercises.

The programme included study visits to Trentino entrepreneurship and SME development initiatives to view instruments used in the Province of Trento and considered as good practices by the OECD.

The Seminar built knowledge on:

Supporting SMEs in a time of crisis: how to choose the right actions

Open session for policy makers and practitioners to review the impact of the crisis on SMEs and to discuss the emerging policy solutions

SME needs and policy responses: a selection of business support instruments, the problems they address, and how they are delivered

a. New start-ups: fostering entrepreneurial activities

b. Addressing the SME finance gap and the role of co-operative banking

c. Supporting SME growth, productivity and innovation

Supporting social enterprises and local communities

– The role of social enterprises

– Working with the community (trust)

Creating entrepreneurship and SME strategies

– Setting objectives and priorities

– Integrating actions

– Involving stakeholders

– Creating an evidence base



   Download the agenda


  Conclusions: main lessons and recommendations

   Short video interviews and video summaries of seminar lectures


Contact Details

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Alessandra Proto
Policy Analyst
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OECD LEED Trento Centre for Local Development
1, Vicolo San Marco
38122 Trento - Italy
Phone: +39 0461 277-602
Fax: +39 0461 277-650

Mr. Corrado Gentilini
Training Centre for International Cooperation
1, Vicolo San Marco
38122 Trento - Italy
Phone: +39 0461 263-636
Fax: +39 0461 261-395


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