Countries / Territories

Survey procedure

  • The SME Competitiveness Survey is typically carried out in partnership with a country government body such as the national Trade Ministry’s SME office or other Trade and Investment Support Institutions. The survey itself is conducted either by that government partner or by a local survey company hired for that purpose.

    ITC helps the partner organization select a sample of companies to interview and train the team of interviewers collect data from hundreds of the country’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises using software and hardware designed for the task. ITC provides the questionnaire for the survey, which is customized to respond to local country conditions but standardized across countries to be able to capture a comparable, accurate snapshot of the competitiveness of the country’s firms.

    The data collection and analysis process is anonymized to protect the privacy of participating firms. While the focus of the SMECS is on small and medium-sized firms with less than 100 employees, some larger enterprises are also interviewed – to enable analysis of how small companies’ competitiveness differs from that of their larger peers.
    SMECS is also designed to be repeated on a 2-3 year cycle—to monitor progress and assess whether current policy actions are working.

    survey procedure
    Partner Identification

    ITC conducts high-level meetings with national policy makers to present the SME Competitiveness Survey. These meetings determine the interest and suitability of potential partner organizations. Partners may play different but complementary roles, including but not limited to: acting as the project focal point, providing firm lists, providing interviewers, collecting the data, and high level championing

    Preparatory Activities

    • Formalization of the terms of co-operation - ITC formalizes partnerships with local institutions through Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This sets up the framework for cooperation.
    • Training interviewers - ITC provides the local partner with a specialized distance-training course on how to conduct the SMECS for interviewers.
    • Sample selection - ITC collaborates with local partners to create a comprehensive list of firms in the country. The list can be considered as the “population of firms in the country” if it includes firms of different sizes, firms from different locations/regions, and firms operating in different sectors. Once the population of firms is available, a representative sample of firms to be interviewed is drawn through stratified sampling techniques.
    • Finalization of the questionnaire - ITC collaborates with local partners to make minor changes in the template SMECS questionnaire to adapt it to local circumstances, and to translate it if necessary.

    Data Collection
    Firms are contacted in several steps: first, the local partner sends an information pack to the selected firms. Then, a phone call follows to determine the willingness of firms to participate and take an appointment. Finally, face-to-face interviews are conducted.

    Analysis and Report Production
    ITC analyses the collected data, and interprets it in collaboration with local partners. The analysis is then shared with counterparts.

    Validation of Results
    The findings from the analysis are discussed with national partners, reviewed where necessary and then validated.

    Publication Launch
    The local partner convenes a stakeholder meeting with press coverage where the results of the survey are presented and discussed. Solutions to the problems identified are discussed.

  • contact

    For more information, please contact us: smecompetitiveness@intracen.org