SDG Action Weekend - Bridging the Financing Gap: Unleashing the Potential of SMEs

SDG Action Weekend - Bridging the Financing Gap: Unleashing the Potential of SMEs
16 September 2023
16:00 - 18:00 hrs. Trusteeship Council Chamber, UN Headquarters
New York
, United States of America

The SDG Summit, to be held on 18-19 September 2023, must secure the breakthroughs and momentum needed to change course and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The SDG Action Weekend (16–17 September 2023) will generate additional opportunities for stakeholders, UN entities and Member States to convene inside the United Nations Headquarters and to set out specific commitments and contributions to drive SDG transformation between now and 2030. The SDG Action Weekend will consist of a “SDG Mobilization Day” (16 September) and a “SDG Acceleration Day” (17 September).

While there are several private sector events being convened throughout the UN General Assembly high-level week, this session is dedicated to closing the financing gap for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including youth and women-led SMEs and delving into the challenges and opportunities for SMEs in supply chain finance.

SMEs account for over 90 per cent of all business worldwide and are responsible for more than two-thirds of all jobs created. Difficulties faced by SMEs negatively impact the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. SMEs are the SDG drivers on the ground and make a significant contribution to global trade flows, economic value and job creation within countries – including for women and youth – and provide solutions to local and regional challenges. Access to affordable and timely financing and participation in value chains (global, regional, and domestic) are crucial for their growth and their economic and social contribution, as well as for the promotion of innovation, sustainable and green of industries. 

Through a series of engaging discussions, key actors across the value chain will unpack the tools and solutions needed to close the SME financing gap to drive SDG acceleration, support women and youth-led SMEs and strengthen the role of SMEs in driving inclusive, green and sustainable development.

Fireside session 1 - Bridging the gap- unlocking finance for women and youth-led SMEs: Women and youth-led SMEs constitute a significant force in the global economy, driving innovation, fueling economic expansion, and propelling employment opportunities. Nonetheless, they confront disproportionate challenges in accessing financial resources, constraining their potential to scale operations, foster innovation, and create lasting impact. This session is strategically designed to articulate a compelling rationale for directing and facilitating investments towards women and youth-led SMEs. By spotlighting ingenious strategies that foster inclusiveness and parity, it endeavors to catalyze synergies and solutions for improving access to quality and affordable finance for women and youth.

Fireside session 2 - Fostering an enabling environment for inclusive and sustainable small, medium-sized enterprises in supply chain finance: Supply chain finance (SCF) can help accelerate SME growth by empowering SMEs to optimize their working capital, expand green operations, and successfully meet customer and market demands. This session will explore the importance of SCF, what enabling environments are needed to scale SCF in support of SMEs and different channels that can be tapped into for a successful mobilization of finance so as to further enable SMEs to be the SDG drivers on the ground.

International Trade Centre (ITC)

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