SME and Value Chain Solutions


The Importance of SMEs in Economic Growth

SMEs account for the vast majority of businesses in developing economies and contribute roughly 40 percent of GDP, making them critical for economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and entrepreneurship. SMEs also generate over 90 percent of net job growth in developing nations. This is especially important given estimates that emerging markets will need 600 million new jobs by 2030.

In addition to providing vital products and services, networks of small businesses power the supply and distribution chains of key industries, such as construction, mobile telecoms, and fast-moving consumer goods. Improving operational efficiencies and deepening integration of SMEs within these value chains are key drivers for development and shared prosperity. SMEs also strengthen economic inclusion, delivering goods and services to poor and underserved markets, and providing jobs for large numbers of women entrepreneurs.


What we do

IFC’s SME and Value Chain team provides advice and technical support, and builds the capacity and business performance of private sector clients in emerging markets and fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS). We help small businesses boost profits, find new markets, and deliver products and services to customers more efficiently. We also work to boost gender inclusion and advance gender equality.

Leveraging the extensive technical and market expertise of the World Bank Group, IFC partners with SME networks and associations, and companies whose value chains integrate large numbers of suppliers and retailers in agribusiness, construction, financial services, extractives, manufacturing, telecoms, retail and tourism, and other sectors.


How we do it

We strengthen SMEs’ participation in high-potential value chains by helping them to improve their products, inventory management, business skills, and distribution processes.

We help larger clients and multinationals increase their engagement with SMEs to improve access to new markets, build brand reputation, stakeholder loyalty, and government relationships, while ensuring responsible business operations.

We provide specialized support to labor intensive, light manufacturing industries, particularly the apparel/textile sector. We help clients improve labor and environmental standards, increase productivity through soft skills and technical training, and provide equal career opportunities for women in global supply chains. This includes our Better Work partnership with the International Labor Organization.

We partner with the tourism industry and governments to catalyze supply chain opportunities for SMEs, support tourism investors to develop their businesses, and help to increase arrivals from keys markets.

We provide training standards, certification and capacity building to create markets for local advisory services entrepreneurs and help SMEs increase productivity, efficiency, capacity, and access to finance and new markets. Our services are tailored to local needs in emerging markets and FCS and help create an inclusive, qualified and competitive local advisory services industry that extends the scale, impact, and cost effectiveness of local economic development programs.