Designing SME support programs: International experience and implications for Belarus
To date, SME support in Belarus has mainly consisted of concessional loans. The Belarusian government now wants to put SME supporton a broader footing and, above all, to include non-financial support instruments such as training and advisory services in its range of support offers.
Since the reorganization of SME support is beginning from scratch, Belarus has the opportunity to take account of international experienceand lessons learned.
40 years of international experience in SME support show that only a few growth-oriented start-ups and SMEs create innovation and jobs. SME supportis therefore effective if it focuses on growth-oriented start-ups and SMEs. A broad supportof SMEs, in particular a broad stimulation of start-ups in all sectors and in all regions, has little or even negative macroeconomic effects.
Sophisticated selection mechanisms are necessary for the selection of eligible projectsto be supported. The form of state financing of the support infrastructure also plays an important role in the selection of eligible projects, as international experience has shown that some forms of financing provide false incentives for start-up centersand business incubators.