About Us ACTION PLAN FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES IN THE AREA OF DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES FOR THE PERIOD 2016-2018.

Approved by SOC on 13 January2016

CICA Action Plan for implementation of Confidence Building

Measures in the area of development of Small and Medium Enterprises for the period 2016-2018

Background 

Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have assumed great importance as a significant driver of economic growth in CICA member-countries. Such business entities are a key element of the modern economy, since they address a whole range of economic and social problems. SMEs account for more than 50% of jobs in the economy, providing employment to a large number of people and thus lay the foundation of social stability in society. SME enterprises are relatively easy to establish, infuse new ideas in production and creation of products and facilitate the growth and development of a modern economy.

As a coordinating country for implementing the Confidence Building Measures in the Economic dimension of CICA, Russia proposes to put forward for discussion and endorsement of CICA member-countries, the CICA Action Plan for development of Small and Medium Enterprises for the period 2016-2018 (hereinafter referred as Action Plan), in accordance with the cooperative approach adopted by CICA as one of its guiding principles. It aims at fostering intra - CICA cooperation in different aspects of functioning of SMEs. 

This Action Plan outlines specific actions in various areas to establish fair, open and transparent business environments, assist SMEs' internationalization with an emphasis on export-oriented SMEs in CICA member-countries by providing access to new markets and improved financing.

Areas of Activity 

I.  Information sharing on measures for SMEs support in the CICA region.

In their quest to enter global markets SMEs face various external and internal difficulties and barriers related quite often to search for information on business opportunities, potential business partners across borders, adoption of competitive technologies including business management practices, market expansion and customs procedures.

It is therefore necessary to address the specific barriers and challenges by facilitating exchange of best practices among the SMEs of CICA region. This would be aimed at providing entrepreneurs access to knowledge about efficient financing tools, production technologies, learning new marketing strategies, development of human resources, improved productivity and capacity building on a more global/regional platform and in the process, it will help to establish unified information distributing platform for SMEs in CICA region, encourage and stimulate economic cooperation among CICA member-states, especially the cross-border e-business, support the e-business platform for SMEs, so as to reduce their cost on market development. This will lead to a more open trade and investment regime. It would thus ease the process of internationalization of SMEs in the CICA region. Availability of improved communication technologies will play an important part in this exercise.

Information sharing among CICA member-states will include but not limited to the following areas of mutual interest: Youth entrepreneurship, Women entrepreneurship, Innovative and High-tech SMEs, Agricultural SMEs and manufacturing industry.

I (a). Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship in the CICA region.

Given the significance of start-ups of SMEs by young entrepreneurs to economic growth in the CICA region, it is important to address specific barriers and challenges faced by them.  Within the Action Plan, Russia proposes to launch expert discussion and exchange of best practice on promoting start-ups, by young entrepreneurs. Discussions on support mechanisms to give wider business opportunities for young entrepreneurs in the CICA region could include:

1. Providing young entrepreneurs with increased access to knowledge, technology, networking and efficient instruments for the realization of their business projects;

2. Creating a discussion platform for interaction and experience-exchange between  young entrepreneurs, related government authorities from CICA member-states and business organizations/associations;

3. Promoting friendly environment for continuous growth and development of young entrepreneurs’ businesses, development of a broad understanding of business instruments and formation of a positive and modern business world-view.

4. Organising start-up tours which will become a site for getting acquainted and communicating between investors, business-angels, financial experts, financial institutions and others.

I (b). Innovative and High-tech SMEs.

The current situation in the field of Small and Medium Innovative & High-tech companies in the sectors like biotechnology, IT, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, robotics etc. businesses in the CICA member-countries is diverse. The levels of adoption of latest research/new products to production methods differ and different systems of state support in disseminating research results to innovative SMEs are in use. However, all countries realize the importance of this sector. In this regard, it is proposed to launch discussions on the following items:

Exchange of experience and best practices on state support for Innovative and High -tech    

SMEs;

 Commercialization of technologies in domestic and international markets;

Implementing and promoting innovative and  technological products;

Integrating innovative SMEs into national and international innovative clusters;

Financial and non-financial instruments of support.

I (c). Agricultural SMEs.

Sustainable agricultural growth is of primary importance because the majority of SMEs in CICA region are engaged in activities related directly or indirectly to agriculture. Agricultural SMEs have a potential to establish international links in agricultural export and import. Concrete actions like boosting investment, finance and adoption of innovative technologies in agriculture can be taken to pursue growth and development and to raise productivity in this area. This Action Plan proposes to intensify the process of information exchange on domestic supporting and enabling conditions for sustainable agricultural growth and development.

 I (d). Manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing industry reflects the national strength and its development level. The current technological updating for manufacturing industry is booming up, and the integrating process of industrialization, informationization and automation is gaining momentum. So, the CICA member states are enjoying a new round of opportunity for speeding up the industrial development. Those member states with technically advantageous manufacturing and components producing enterprises can launch the communicating exchange, so as to facilitate industrial cluster establishment and interdependence among member states.

I (eWomen entrepreneurship 

Women’s involvement in the economy by promoting women entrepreneurship is an important part of economic growth of every state. Of course, there are specific forms and methods for development women-owned SMEs, promoting women participation in business, innovative activities, financial sector and other spheres of economic activity. It is proposed to launch expert discussion and share best national practices for strengthening women’s capital development and widening their participation in the economy.

The following events can be held under this head :
- Holding of information and training workshops, “lessons of leadership”, “success stories” with the participation of well-known women entrepreneurs from CICA member states;

-  Exchange of experience, establishment of business contacts and development of cooperation between women entrepreneurs from CICA member states;

-  Exchange national best practices and knowledge on financial tools, services and resources essential to growth, security and prosperity of women-owned SMEs, for the example by running a workshop or organizing round tables. 

II.  Creation of a plan of Exhibitions, Fairs, Conferences and other International events for SME enterprises in CICA member-states for the period 2016-2018.
To promote cooperation between SMEs in the CICA region it is necessary to give them a platform where they can discuss their mutual problems, share best practices and find new business partners. To achieve this objective, it is proposed to make a common plan of exhibitions, fairs, conferences and other events for SMEs which could be held in CICA member-states in the period 2016-2018.  

Each CICA member-state may wish to include in the plan one to three key international events for SMEs for circulation among CICA member-states.

III. Enhancing cooperation among SME Support Organizations/ Associations/and Public Organizations in the CICA region.
Over a long period, governments, SME support organizations/associations and public organizations in CICA member-states have gathered wide experience and intellectual capital on all aspects of functioning of SME sector. Government agencies do and should promote entrepreneurship, provide and support financing, ease regulatory burdens etc.    Collaboration among them, on mutually beneficial and target areas would provide the opportunity for effective practical applications on various  aspects of working of SMEs sector, such as dispute settlements, best practices on SMEs juridical regulation and legal support, facilitation of SMEs access to public services, financing, exports and international projects.

It would also be beneficial to establish a collaborative arrangement with UNIDO and UNESCAP on sharing their archival material in the field of SMEs.

This Action Plan is also in agreement with the recommendations listed in the Manama Declaration on Entrepreneurship and Development (Annex I).

All CICA member states may be requested to indicate the modalities   through which they would like to contribute to this theme, for example, promoting the infrastructure construction such as the logistics transportation channel in member states, realizing the inter-connection among highway, railway and aviation, facilitating the people-to-people contacts and commodity customs clearance, simplifying visa processing and carrying forward the mutual recognition for technical standard and international attestation.

IV.  Establishing cooperation between National Financial Organizations/Guarantee agencies

To ensure success of SMEs, there is, among most CICA member states certain financial infrastructure to support the development and promotion of products for national and foreign markets. This Action Plan proposes that experience and best practices on SMEs’ access to financial resources be shared among all CICA member-states including instruments of Islamic financing. 

Among these could be:

-    Micro financing;

-    Preferential crediting;

-    Credit guarantees;

-    Financial and tax incentives;

-    Special tax privileges;

-    Special banking products;

-    Venture capital

In this regard, it is proposed to study the possibilities of interaction and cooperation between national guarantee agencies among CICA member-states.

Implementation

This Action Plan is a framework that includes three components for sustainable development of SMEs in CICA member-states:

-    Information Sharing. Share information, experience and best practices among CICA member-states on all actual areas of mutual interest;

-    Capacity BuildingUndertake activities to enhance capacity of SMEs in CICA member-states by holding appropriate events including regular exhibitions, conferences, round tables, workshops, joint studies, business missions, etc.;

-    Enhancement of Business Involvement. Explore Public-Private Partnerships and promote the engagement of the private sector through activity within CICA Business Council.

Parties to this Action Plan will be all CICA member-states during
the period 2016-2018.

Any event proposed by a member state shall be subject to CICA Rules of Procedure 

Coordinator: CICA Business Council.

Conclusion

This Action Plan has open-ended and progressive features. The initiatives on SMEs’ cooperation may be adjusted, enriched and updated with the contributions and approval of all CICA member-states.