"Small Business, Big Change" – The 2024 UN MSME Day held in Beijing and Chengdu

June 27, 2024

June 27, Beijing, Chengdu—To mark the 2024 UN Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, joint events were held in Beijing and Chengdu on June 27. This year’s theme was “Small Business, Big Change,” focusing on the vital role of MSMEs in addressing global challenges and discussing ways to enhance their innovation capabilities through policy-making, business financing, capacity building, supply chain management, and global cooperation. The events brought together participants from UN agencies in China, government, industry associations, academic institutions, and outstanding MSME representatives in both cities for in-depth discussions.  
MSMEs account for 98.5% of all businesses in China, contribute 60% of the GDP, and provide three-quarters of all jobs (OECD, 2022), including for women, youth and other vulnerable groups. As dominant drivers of development, jobs and innovation in China and globally, MSMEs are critical in transforming economies towards growth that also helps to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, including ending poverty and averting the worst effects of climate change.“By enabling MSMEs to flourish, we can help to keep the vision of the SDGs alive - supporting an economy that includes everyone, while addressing the existential threat of climate change, to ensure a future that can sustain us all,” said Beate Trankmann, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in China, as she opened this dual-city celebration from Chengdu. 
“MSMEs are crucial drivers of economic growth, yet they are the most vulnerable links in the market ecosystem, facing severe challenges in sustainable development,” said Mr. Zhang Yi, Deputy Director General of the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE). “We will continue to strengthen cooperation with UN agencies like UNDP, focusing on helping MSMEs in China and other developing countries to enhance their resilience and enable them to become drivers of green growth. This will involve conducting policy research, raising public awareness, capacity-building, sharing best practices from other pilot areas supporting MSMEs, and establishing global cooperation and exchange platforms.” 
The Beijing event, titled “Powering a Sustainable Future: MSMEs as Drivers of Green Growth,” was co-hosted by UNDP and CICETE with the support of Du Xiaoman Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. It highlighted the critical role of MSMEs in driving socio-economic growth and achieving the SDGs, explored the challenges and opportunities faced by MSMEs, and advocated for government and stakeholder support to empower MSMEs as engines of green and equitable development. 
“Financing difficulties, slow technological upgrades, market uncertainty, and many other issues are growing challenges that most MSMEs face,” said Mr. Liang Song, General Manager of Credit Services of Du Xiaoman. “Du Xiaoman’s artificial intelligence and big data technology can convert the high-quality credit of small and micro business owners into risk assessment results that financial institutions can identify and monitor, helping to solve their financing problems, thus promoting better green growth for MSMEs.” 
The Chengdu event, co-hosted by UNDP and the Chengdu High-Tech Zone Administrative Committee (CDHT), with support from CICETE and the Social Value Investment Alliance, was part of the “Re:Think 2024 UNDP MSME Week,” held from June 24 to June 30. The event series included the launch of the “The MSMEs Pledge for the SDGs,” MSME sustainable capacity training, the INSPIRO MSME Sustainable Development Innovation Summit, and the SPARK Chengdu International Entrepreneurs Carnival. These activities aimed to empower MSMEs, spark new ideas, and provide an international stage to showcase their contributions to the SDGs. 
“We will promote the integration of the SDGs into the entire process of enterprise management and operation, enhance the sustainable development capabilities of businesses, foster international cooperation, and further boost the innovation and global competitiveness of Chengdu Hi-Tech Zone,” said Zhao Wenqiao, Director of the Chengdu High-Tech Zone Administrative Committee. 

OECD, 2022. https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/a3891ad8-en/index.html?itemId=/content/component/a3891ad8-en