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Marcel Vernooij at WEDF: ‘Innovative finance is not just about money’

Today and tomorrow the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) takes place in Doha, Qatar. WEDF is an annual event organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and designed for policymakers and business executives working in the field of innovation and internationalisation.

Marcel Vernooij is one of the speakers in a session about innovative funding to internationalise SMEs. He is a member of the Management Team of the Sustainable Economic Development Department at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Below you can find a summary of his contribution about the role of finance in facilitating SME trade.

The ambitious Sustainable Development Goals can only be realised with flourishing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), which create jobs, push local economic development and produce goods and services in support of the wellbeing of people.

SMEs can benefit from better linkage to international markets. Therefore we need to support SMEs in developing countries.

Companies, financial institutions and governments have to bridge a serious finance gap: SMEs are often unaware of the opportunities for financial support and many of their proposals for trade finance get rejected.

However, it is not just money that matters. The complexity and dynamics of international markets require innovative, new alliances and a fundamental mind shift.

We need a joint understanding between companies, financial institutions, civil society and governments of the complexity and challenges SMEs face.

Only if producers, traders and clients in consuming markets find common ground on their interdependence in value chains, SMEs can better integrate their business in international markets, and do so in a manner that is sustainable and inclusive.

If we want SMEs to harvest the benefits of operating in global value chains, we should abandon traditional divides between facilitating exports and imports.