The role of MSMEs and entrepreneurship in achieving the SDGs

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,1 adopted in 2015 by all nations (of the United Nations) is a powerful universal framework for action to end extreme poverty, fight inequality, foster peace and justice, and protect our planet. The Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets provide the roadmap to get there. The Agenda emphasizes the roles not only of governments but also of citizens, businesses, civil society organizations, and others as stakeholders in solving our common and globally interrelated challenges. The 2030 Agenda explicitly calls on “all businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solving sustainable development challenges and meet societies’ most pressing problems.”

In developing countries, most businesses are MSMEs. MSMEs account for about 90 percent of businesses, provide 60 to 70 percent of formal employment in developing countries, and up to 50 percent of employment worldwide. MSMEs are thus key actors to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs as both agents for and beneficiaries of inclusive development. Their development is essential for promoting job creation, economic growth, and ensuring that no one is left behind. They are one of the best tools to address the challenge of creating 600 million new jobs by 2030, particularly for governments put in place enabling policies for and by youth.

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1 For more information, see