In the last years, SMEs have fully benefitted from the upswing of the Turkish economy. Until 2012, their total value added and employment grew by around 28% and 35% respectively, even though the number of SMEs only increased by approximately 6%.
Traditionally, internal demand is the main driver of Turkish economic performance. Therefore, the wholesale and retail trade sector plays a key role. However, the wholesale and retail trade sector is changing, focusing more on large shopping malls and retail chains. This restructuring is also the result of a rise in the national credit card ownership and an increase in per capita income. Hence, it is essential for SMEs to adopt new e-commerce strategies and to keep up with more sophisticated customer demand.
Two strategic plans, the SME Strategy and Action Plan (2015-2018) and the Entrepreneurship Strategy and Action Plan (2015-2018) are being approved by the High Planning Council (chaired by the Prime Minister), as well as the new Turkish Industrial Strategy Document (2015-2018).
Further steps need to be taken to improve access to finance, such as developing the venture capital market and to increase the ability to adopt and use technology and to innovate. The main constraint for the growth of SMEs is access to finance, and new microeconomic evidence shows that the development of medium term finance contributes significantly to SME performance in terms of employment, sales, and investment. Specific interventions in the form of credit guarantees and credit line financing of financial institutions dedicated to support SME financial products have been used to speed up the development of the SME medium term credit market.