Multiple simultaneous shocks and crises have disturbed the global working environment for entrepreneurs and micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). In addition, conflicts, commodity dependence, geopolitical tensions, and pandemics drive social and economic instability, making MSMEs extremely vulnerable to rising inflation and supply chain disruptions.
Among the most vulnerable, women- and youth-owned enterprises are often at risk of external shocks. This is when the percentage and overall number of business formations by women and youth are increasing worldwide. However, facing limited access to affordable finance, capacity-building support, partnership networks, and global markets, women and young entrepreneurs need help to overcome the numerous challenges that frequently stifle the growth of their businesses, confining many of them to informality or necessity entrepreneurship.
Policies that strengthen capacities and support MSMEs development and entrepreneurship for women and youth need to be at the forefront to address those challenges, lower and remove barriers, and provide an operating environment for women- and youth-owned businesses to grow, thus contributing to the full achievement of SDGs 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 and the "leave no one behind" promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.
This MSMEs day will also focus on supporting resilient supply chains to ensure workers and the environment benefit. Supply chains are a critical component of global trade and commerce, and conflicts, disasters, and pandemics can quickly impact their functioning, increasing costs and making transactions more difficult. Therefore, policymakers and businesses must join forces to ensure economically viable, socially, and environmentally sustainable supply chains.