Since the end of the 1980s, SMEs in Algeria allowed the country’s economy to grow, favouring local development and competitiveness, especially in the non-hydrocarbon sector. Today, SMEs represent more than 99% of the total number of companies operating in Algeria (ONS, 2012), providing nearly 90% of the value added generated by the main sectors of activity, playing a key role in job creation, especially for younger Algerians. Successful engagement of young people in the labour market and society is crucial not only for their own personal well-being and economic prospects but also for inclusive economic growth and social cohesion, especially after the severe shock caused by Covid-19.
Currently, Europe is introducing important measures to help SMEs recover from the pandemic, with a great emphasis on the green and digital transition as the way forward; simultaneously, Algerian institutions are enacting policies and tools to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and the growth of SMEs and start-ups: the government’s start-up accelerator “A-Venture” has been inaugurated in Algiers by the Minister of Knowledge Economy and Start-ups, with the objective of making start-ups a driving force for new economic development. Simultaneously, the government is addressing the global issue of lack of financing for SMEs, launching the “Algerian Start-up Fund” in collaboration with COSOB and public banks, to invest in operations with equity and quasi-equity. Furthermore, the Bourse d’Alger is creating an ad-hoc compartment for SMEs and start-ups willing to go public. Are such initiatives effective? What is their impact on the Algerian entrepreneurial ecosystem? During the panel, experts will address the following questions:
- What vision do you have in mind for Algerian SMEs and start-ups?
- Which are the forces driving this change, and which are the most burdensome difficulties you have had to face or are facing to implement these initiatives?
- Which are the most interesting challenges to be addressed in the near future within the Algerian entrepreneurial ecosystem?
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