Antonio Guterres / UN

United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres has highlighted the resilience that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises have demonstrated over the years despite facing times of crisis.

His remarks were made ahead of Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Day, celebrated on Thursday (today).

First declared by the UN in 2017, MSMEs Day aims to emphasise the global resilience, creativity, and hard work of small business owners and entrepreneurs.

According to World Bank Group, the largest development bank in the world, micro enterprises are businesses which have one to nine employees, while small enterprises are those with 10 to 49 employees. Medium-sized businesses have a workforce of 50 to 249 employees. However, definitions of MSMEs may vary from country to country and can also be based on other variables such as income and assets.

Locally, MSMEs make up a large part of Malta’s economy.

Data from Statista notes that in 2022, there were approximately 33,442 MSMEs operating in Malta, the vast majority of which were micro-sized enterprises (30,903). There were around 2,154 small businesses and 386 medium-sized enterprises.

In his message, Mr Guterres noted that MSMEs are “central to economies around the world.”

“Today, we recognise their vital contributions in creating jobs, driving economic growth, and empowering women, youth and marginalised communities,” he continued.

This year’s theme is the leverage of MSMEs’ power and resilience to accelerate sustainable development and eradicate poverty, particularly to advance towards achieving the 2030 deadline of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs, developed by the UN, aim to serve as a blueprint to achieve a “better and more sustainable future for all.” The 17 goals address a number of global challenges, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.

He affirmed that given the theme, it is important to note that “in times of crises – from cost-of-living to climate change to debt distress – MSMEs have demonstrated remarkable resilience.”

However, Mr Guterres said that it must be acknowledged that many of these businesses still struggle with limited access to finance, technology, markets, and supply chains.

“These enterprises require policies, support structures, and investments that promote their growth and formalisation. In turn, they help communities prosper, uplift the most vulnerable, and pave the way for more sustainable and just livelihoods,” he added.

“As we celebrate MSMEs Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to strengthen our support to these entities, accelerate progress towards the SDGs and leave no one behind,” Mr Gutteres stated.

Featured Image:

UN Secretary General António Guterres / UN


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