Financial markets

SME financing


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key contributors to economic growth and job creation. The 2008 economic and financial crisis impaired the bank lending channel in a number of countries, affecting in particular the main financing source of SMEs. In parallel, the emergence of FinTech and distributed ledger technologies, such as the blockchain, are driving innovative financing alternatives for SMEs.

Long engaged in monitoring the financing of SMEs, the OECD has intensified its work in this area in recent years in light of these events. Current work is focused on the potential for marketplace lending and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as mechanisms for SME financing. This work is led by the OECD Committee on Financial Markets.


About the project

Online marketplace lending and ICOs for SME financing

The use of technology for the provision of financial services (FinTech) is playing an increasingly important role in the complex landscape of SME financing. FinTech and distributed ledger technologies have the potential to alleviate some of the financing constraints faced by SMEs and provide more inclusive financing mechanisms for start-ups and small businesses.


ICOs for SME financing - This OECD report examines the emergence of ICOs as a financing mechanism for SMEs. This includes analysing the potential of ICOs to address SME financing gaps, where they exist, examining the benefits and challenges of this mechanism for SMEs and investors, and discussing the policy implications of ICO activity for the financing of SMEs and the real economy.


SMEs and marketplace lending - The OECD is examining the evolution of marketplace lending (MPL) and its role in the SME financing market. This includes analysing the increasing participation of institutional investors (asset managers, pension funds, investment funds, etc.) as providers of funding and critical enablers of MPL activity, the potential linkages of MPL to the capital markets through secondary market activity and securitisation of MPL loan portfolios, the role of other FinTech technologies (e.g. big data and analytics) in enhancing the provision of financing to SMEs through innovation in credit assessment, underwriting, origination and servicing, and will discuss policy implications of MPL activity for the financing of SMEs. 

Documents and links

OECD work on blockchain and distributed ledger technology


G20/OECD Effective Approaches for Implementing the G20/OECD High-Level Principles on SME Financing, 2018


Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs: An OECD Scoreboard, 2018


Opportunities and limitations of public equity markets for SMEs, 2016


G20/OECD High-Level Principles on SME Financing, 2015


Unlocking SME finance through market-based debt: Securitisation, private placements and bonds, 2015


Opportunities and constraints of market-based financing for SMEs: OECD report to G20, 2015


Non-bank debt financing for SMEs: The role of securitisation, private placements and bonds, 2014








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