A collaborative, transformative Community of Practice on MSME development.

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MSMEs are the engine of most economies and account for the majority of jobs worldwide. Entrepreneurship and enterprise development are key to creating more and better jobs and to promoting sustainable development. Entrepreneurs and MSMEs, however, also tend to be among the most vulnerable economic actors, especially in the face of shocks or economic downturn. This has become painfully visible during the recent and unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic.

Venturing into the Unknown

The economic effects of public health and lockdown measures disproportionately affected MSMEs in general and informal enterprises in particular. The year 2021, and recovery from Covid-19, will therefore be a venturing into the unknown.

Trajectories of economic and business recovery, innovating business models to a new, post-Covid-19, normal, and building resilience with a view to future crises will only be the starting points of this “Unknown”. Add to that the prevalence of other types of crisis, such as political instability and conflict, or the effects of climate change that shape the reality of many MSMEs. The result is a complex panorama for MSME development post-Covid-19.

Insular approaches

Over the past decades, a variety of programs and approaches, promoted by a myriad of public, private, and social actors, have emerged to support MSMEs and help improve business resilience. New impact-oriented business models and digital technologies hold the potential to change the ways in which MSMEs are supported. Impact evaluations and extensive practical experiences provide insights into how MSME promotion can be impactful. So far, however, such understandings have remained insular, and little consolidated knowledge has emerged on what works, what does not, and why.

What do we want to do?

Building on the momentum generated by the Beyond the Known conference in 2019, the objective of this second edition is to facilitate peer learning and exchange of experiences among MSME development practitioners. As part of this and practitioners’ exchange we would like to:

  • – Achieving Dynamic and Resilient Entrepreneurial Ecosystems.
  • – Accelerating MSME access to financial services through new technologies and skills development program.
  • – Challenging inclusiveness and environmental sustainability in entrepreneurship.

What will happen?

A three-day event with different thematic tracks across MSME development

  1. Achieving Dynamic and Resilient Entrepreneurial Ecosystems.
  2. Accelerating MSME access to financial services through new technologies and skills development program.
  3. Challenging inclusiveness and environmental sustainability in entrepreneurship promotion.

During the conference participants will be able to know about successful initiatives and to discuss with experts and leaders about the best strategies to support MSME development.


The event aims to gather practitioners engaged in entrepreneurship promotion, such as:

  1. Financial and non-financial service providers (e.g. incubators, accelerators, BDS providers, SME banks, microfinance organizations and networks, seed/angel investor networks, impact investors’ networks).
  2. Public SME/Entrepreneurship agencies (e.g. MSME agencies, entrepreneurship centres).
  3. Transnational entrepreneurship promotors (e.g. North-South start-up mentoring programs, global incubators, ANDE).
  4. Development partners (Governments, foundations).
  5. International development organizations and non-governmental organizations with an interest in entrepreneurship promotion.