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Explore SME Compass Index

The SME Compass Index is a pioneering composite index designed to assess the overall competitiveness of Serbia’s SME sector. Composite indices are widely recognized as useful tools for analyzing public policies and enhancing public communication. They summarize multifaceted topics and trends into comprehensible, comparable metrics.

Uniquely designed, the Index serves as a holistic, representative lens on SME competitiveness, delving into distinctions based on business size, geographical setting, and industry domain. SME Compass Index offers valuable insights into the areas where Serbian SMEs are excelling or lagging global trends. Such insights can guide policymakers, development projects, initiatives, and the monitoring of national strategic documents.

Harnessing 75 indicators, the Index spans 11 sectors, 25 districts, and multiple business scales. These metrics are informed by the financial data from over 20,000 businesses, insights from a dedicated SME compass survey of 1,500 entities, and supplementary survey intel from the Statistical Office.

Structured around nine key pillars, each a weighted average of theme-connected indicators, SME Compass Index includes: (1) business sentiment and performance, (2) business environment, (3) human resources, (4) business model, (5) digitalization and industry 4.0, (6) innovation, (7) green transformation, (8) access to finance, and (9) gender equality.

SME Compass Index 2023 Overview:

The SME Compass Index in 2023 stands at 40.1 out of 100, signaling a lower-mid level of competitiveness and development in Serbia’s SME sector.

Pros:

  1. Positive Sentiment: A mildly positive economic sentiment about the future, especially in the longer run, even when faced with slowdown in EU’s economic activity and high inflation.
  2. Export Orientation: The share of exporting companies in Serbia is twice as high as in the EU, with manufacturing leading at 49.5%.
  3. Quality of Employees: Businesses express high satisfaction with both the soft and technical skills of their workforce, further commending their willingness to learn.

Cons:

  1. Availability of Workforce: The predominant structural issue remains the labor shortage, a challenge felt across all sectors and regions of Serbia.
  2. Level of Investments: There’s a noticeable under-investment by SMEs in Serbia, notably in new equipment, processes, and broadening of operational scope.
  3. Value Chain Transformation: The sector lags in areas like digitalization, green initiatives, innovation, and technological advancements.

Explore by Pillar

Business sentiment

55.7%

Human resources

47%

Business model

46%

Access to finance

45%

Business environment

45%

Gender equality

34%

Innovation

28%

Green transformation

25%

Industry 4.0

25%

Explore by Sector

ICT

48%

Medium tech

47%

High tech

47%

Low tech

45%

Agri-food

43%

Professional services

40%

Transport

39%

Trade

37%

HORECA

36%

Personal services

35%

Construction

34%

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