Wasme

World Association for
Small and Medium Enterprises

26th International Conference on SMEs (ICSME)

WASME successfully concludes its 26th International Conference on SMEs (ICSME) with key dialogues and deliberations to strengthen the resilience and success of SMEs

The 26th International Conference on SMEs (ICSME) was hosted by the World Association for Small and Medium Enterprises (WASME), and SEEZA Network, South Africa in collaboration with Johannesburg Convention Bureau and Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP). The conference took place from November 30th to December 2nd, 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Given the recent global economic crises caused by various emergencies like the Covid-19 pandemic and other social, political, and environmental shocks, the ICSME focused on offering innovative and imaginative solutions to strengthen the resilience and spur the growth of SMEs in the face of increasing global uncertainty.

The 26th ICSME was structured to stimulate conversation among policymakers, entrepreneurs, SMEs, enterprise development support providers and other ecosystem players with the goal of strengthening the capacities and capabilities of these enterprises to withstand current and future crises and emergencies. Under the theme “Recurrent Emergencies, Resilient Enterprise: Envisioning the Future”, this event provided a forum for discussing how to best support enterprise resilience in the face of recurrent emergencies and how to enable policies and regulatory frameworks that support SMEs

In his opening address, H.E. Dr. K.C. Jankee, ambassador of the Government of Mauritius in Russia & President, WASME shared that various uncertainties have had a significant impact on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and that policy frameworks need to be revamped in order to address the challenges faced by SMEs.He reminded everyone of WASME’s mandate and explained its efforts to cooperate with governments, UN organizations, and SME promotion agencies to advocate for SME development.

Mr. Nkululeko Mbundu, MMC, Economic Development, City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality appreciated WASME for bringing the ICSME in Johannesburg and shared his delight for WASME’s efforts to promote SMEs globally. He looks forward to collaborating with WASME to help support small businesses in Johannesburg.

Many key officials joined as speakers from UNDP, GSDI, GEP, PMU Netherlands, Department of Economic Development, City of Johannesburg, Departmentof Small BusinessDevelopment, SA, SMEDAN, Nigeria, FINCORP, Swaziland, Global BusinessAngel Network (GBAN),Mexico, BREIF India and WASME senior officials.

In order to “build back better” in the current global context of uncertainty, financial fragility, and disruptions to supply chains and revenue, WASME with BRIEF, India has launched a position paper that advocates for a sustainable and regenerative approach. This approach includes making decisions based on a risk-informed systems-based approach, which would consequently lead to more robust and effective government interventions, business model innovations, digitization and financial innovation.

WASME also presented SME Resilience Awards to 7 SMEs across the world in 6 categories including Resilience through product/ service innovation, technology/ digital technology, financial strategy innovation, Management Leadership, Human Resource Development, and ensuring sustainability. Some SMEs also participated in technical visits to 22 On Sloane, JSE Enterprise Acceleration Programme, and Riversands I-HUB South Africa that aimed to showcase SME participants, Africa’s leading start-up and SME support programmes.

More than 200 participants from all over the world attended the conference and were thrilled to be part of ICSME. The conference offered a powerful global platform for dialogue and exchanging lessons from past and contemporary approaches to helping businesses withstand the negative impact of various shocks.

An annual event of WASME, ICSME is a prestigious gathering of policymakers, senior government officials, UN representatives, WASME members, industry leaders, and more. This event provides a platform for exchanging experiences and lessons on SME policies and support measures. ICSME has been held in various countries around the world for 26 years now.