Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Day: Empretec Global Network event

Statement by Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Day: Empretec Global Network event

27 June 2024

[Video address]

Today, on International MSMEs Day, I want to extend my warmest greetings to the backbone of our global economy: Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises.

Your dedication to solving problems, both big and small, is truly worth celebrating.

MSMEs, you are the job creators, the innovators, the engines of growth in our communities.

Your impact is undeniable: creating two-thirds of global jobs, generating significant revenue for nations, and democratizing access to new technologies.

But the world is changing rapidly. To thrive in the future, MSMEs must adapt and evolve. You must become future proof.

This means embracing digital technologies, adopting sustainable practices, building resilience against shocks, and constantly innovating.

At UN Trade and Development, we are committed to supporting MSMEs in their journey towards future proofing.

Our programs offer policy advice to governments on entrepreneurship development and provide essential business facilitation tools.

Our Empretec program, a global network of centers, delivers comprehensive business development services, including training and mentorship.

Through our work, I have had the privilege of meeting extraordinary entrepreneurs, like the young woman from Uganda who won the 2023 UNCTAD Women in Business Award.

Her innovative mosquito-repellent lotion, made from milk and dairy byproducts, not only combats malaria but also provides an additional income stream for smallholder farmers.

Or the entrepreneur from Argentina, a member of our Empretec program, who developed a groundbreaking electrostimulation technology, that accelerates plant growth and enhances resilience to pests, contributing to global food security.

Or the Malaysian startup founder in the logistics sector, who, after benefiting from a UNCTAD study tour, became an Empretec mentor, paying it forward by training and empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs.

These stories exemplify the passion, energy, and resilience of entrepreneurs in tackling global challenges. You see opportunities where others see obstacles.

But to unlock your full potential, a conducive business environment is crucial.

Future-proofing MSMEs requires collaborative efforts to address climate change, embrace sustainable practices, leverage technology, and unlock finance at scale.

Sixty-five (65) million companies, about forty per cent (40%) of all MSMEs, have unmet financing needs – and every dollar that is missing represents a missed opportunity for innovation, job creation, and economic growth.

It's a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of MSMEs that they continue to thrive despite these challenges. But imagine what they could achieve with the right support.

On this International MSME Day, let's celebrate your achievements, embrace the challenges, and chart a path towards a future where MSMEs continue to flourish, driving innovation, and creating a more sustainable and inclusive global economy.

I look forward to today’s discussions, and I wish you all a Happy International MSMEs Day!

Thank you.