OECD’s Framework for the Evaluation of SME and Entrepreneurship Policies and Programmes

6 February 2023

On the 13th of February the OECD has published its newest framework in its section of studies on SMEs and entrepreneurship.

The “Framework for the Evaluation of SME and Entrepreneurship Policies and Programmes” focuses mainly on three key points that have emerged:

  • Improving evaluation practice
  • The implications of mixed findings from evaluation evidence
  • Evaluation and COVID-19 policy support measures


This report takes into account pre-existing weaknesses in SMEs and entrepreneurship policy evaluation that must be addressed and mitigated through existing data within government for evaluation purposes and adopting more sophisticated evaluation techniques using control groups.

Overall, the report contains 10+ recommendations that summarize the various government’s responsibilities and the importance of an efficient evaluation process that should also be based on collaboration between countries, that should strive to share effective strategies and learned lessons with other nations.

The recommendations are as follows:


  1. Governments should specify in advance the Objectives and Targets for each policy measure introduced.
  2. Three core metrics – Sales, Employment and Survival – should be specified and assessed in all evaluations. These can be complemented with additional measures   for other Objectives, where targeted, such as environmental and social benefits.
  3. Expenditure data should be made available to evaluators for each policy measure to facilitate cost-effectiveness assessments.
  4. Governments should establish a central monitoring and evaluation unit and a co- ordination process for the monitoring and evaluation of SME and entrepreneurship policy across government ministries and bodies.
  5. Every three years, all major SME and entrepreneurship programmes should be the subject of a reliable evaluation, defined as a minimum of Step V, only the very “short lifers” being excluded.
  6. Governments should look carefully, using at least Step V methods, at the impact of their existing, and any new proposed, “Soft” programmes.
  7. Governments should review the role played by “Macro” policies.
  8. Evaluations should provide the evidence for making decisions on the scale and nature of selective support.
  9. Evaluations should identify exceptional performers and the role such firms have in reaching a judgment on the overall effectiveness of a programme.
  10. Evaluations should systematically include the performance of non-surviving SMEs and start-ups in their assessments of treatment and control group performance.
  11. Governments should investigate the use of the data they collect for tax and other purposes with a view to making it more widely available to those conducting policy   evaluations.
  12. Lessons from reliable evaluations should be shared between countries, with the OECD CSMEE being an ideal vehicle for facilitating this exchange.
  13. Internationally co-ordinated policy evaluation should be undertaken on the impact of COVID-19 SME and entrepreneurship policy responses.
Source: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

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