Background of the INSME proposal
Composition of the INSME Steering Group
Where is INSME headed in 2003-04

Background of the INSME proposal

In the "Bologna Charter on SME policies" adopted in June 2000, Ministers and Representatives of Governments of countries participating in the first OECD Ministerial Conference on SMEs welcomed Italy’s offer to finance and promote the carrying out of a feasibility study, including a need assessment, to define the potential design and development of an International Network for SMEs (INSME).

The INSME is designed to work as a hub of networks and structures of services aimed at strengthening and enhancing the dissemination and quality of information, the service supply and the partnership opportunities for SMEs. The INSME should pursue these objectives mainly through the creation and the use of an Internet portal. This portal will aim at networking the service providers with their users, as the existing service providers already existing at international, national and regional level do not often interact with their customers and among each other sufficiently.

By means of an appropriate management unit, the INSME should also contribute to attain the following objectives:

  1. Enabling SMEs to benefit from globalisation by connecting, extending and maximising the use of the existing networks for SMEs operating on a geographical, sectoral and functional basis, thus improving the quantity, quality and updating of products, information and services available on line, and promoting their internationalisation and their possible integration and co-ordination, by taking advantage of the advancements in information and communication technologies;

  2. Strengthening the co-ordination among the networks for SMEs and for the intermediary bodies supporting SMEs already operating at local level, in order to improve and to better qualify their supply as well as to make information and services more accessible to those countries and geographical areas that are less familiar with SME issues;

  3. Promoting the development of new networks for SMEs and for their intermediaries, the creation of new web-sites and internet portals, with a multiplier effect, especially in those countries which are more lacking.

Following the Bologna Conference, the Italian Ministry of Industry, with the support of the Institute for Industrial Promotion (IPI), has promoted the set up of a specific international Steering Group for the INSME feasibility study (INSME SG). This Steering Group was established in July 2000 in order to benefit from the support by interested countries and international bodies in identifying the objectives and the scope of the feasibility study, receive inputs from the private sector on this regard, and work on the road-map for the carrying out of the feasibility study.

Composition of the INSME Steering Group

The INSME Steering Group was set up in July 2000 on a voluntary basis. It is made up of representatives from the Italian Government and from the OECD, co-organizers of the Bologna Conference, as well as of those countries and organizations which attended the Conference and manifested their interest in the INSME feasibility study and in its aftermaths.

The Group is chaired by an Italian representative appointed directly by the Italian Minister of Industry and its works are co-ordinated by IPI which provides the secretariat of the Group.

SG Members will possibly have the following specifications:

  1. be a member of a National Public Administration (Ministry or Agency) or of an International Organisation or NGO concerned with SME policy issues;

  2. be an expert in networks for SMEs and/or intermediary bodies supporting SMEs;

  3. be an expert in Internet applications, in planning and managing Internet portals.

So far, 41 countries, 17 International Organisations & 9 Networks/intermediaries have joined the Group (See list), whose composition remains open and flexible. Further participation from other OECD and non-OECD countries and from International Organizations and NGOs interested in the Bologna process is welcomed any time. India is a member country and the SENET project works closely with INSME.


Where is INSME headed in 2003-04

 The ongoing work of the INSME Secretariat, hosted by IPI, aims at establishing INSME as a formal community of political and technical stakeholders, taking the form of a non profit association at international level, focussed on innovation and technology transfer services. The association will launch an open, multi-actors political dialogue in this area, to encourage the sharing of knowledge, expertise and methodologies as well as promote new transregional and transnational activities, projects and financing programmes specifically targeted to intermediaries and/or their networks. Moreover, from an operational point of view, INSME aims to strengthen linkages, cooperation and partnerships in this field so as to maximise the mutual benefits among members of the community, and contribute to specialising, integrating and internationalising the offerings set of intermediaries to the final benefit of SMEs.

 By taking advantage of the use of ICT, INSME will act as an information hub, a facilitator and catalyser of existing, relevant intermediaries and their networks promoting the launch of new projects, developing synergies and economies of scale. It is expected that the network will take the form of a non-profit legal entity such as an international association by 2004. The official launch of the association could take place on the occasion of the Second OECD Ministerial Conference at Istanbul in June, 2004.

Annexure I





  1. Algeria

  2. Argentina

  3. Australia

  4. Austria

  5. Brazil

  6. Canada

  7. Chile

  8. Chiness Taipei

  9. Czech republic

  10. Egypt

  11. Finland

  12. France

  13. Germany

  14. Greece

  15. Hungary

  16. India

  17. Israel

  18. Italy

  19. Japan

  20. Mexico

  21. Morocco

  22. New Zealand

  23. Pakistan

  24. Poland

  25. Portugal

  26. Republic of Korea

  27. Romania

  28. Russia

  29. South Africa

  30. Spain

  31. Sweden

  32. Switzerland

  33. Tunisia

  34. Turkey

  35. Vietnam


  1. Denmark
  2. Luxemborg
  3. Mauritius
  4. Paraguay
  5. Syria
  6. United Kingdom
  1. Development Gateway

  2. Devnet

  3. Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)

  4. IKED

  5. OECD

  6. PECC


  8. UNIDO

  9. WIPO


  1. CEGETEC(Uruguay)

  2. Cyprus Institute of Technology

  3. FISME (India)

  4. Galicia e-commerce Leveraging Centre (Spain)

  5. MEDEF (France)

  6. SARETEK (Spain)

  7. SBC (Korea)

  8. UMIS-SMEA (Croatia)

  9. Walloon Business House for Europe (Belgium)

INSME Website

INSME Presentation