Indecon Consulting

[Uzbekistan] – Review of Challenges for SMEs and Recommendations to Address them

Total Value

Small (< EUR 100K)




In late 2018, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) initiated a technical assistance project, in co-operation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan (UCCI), to conduct an overview of existing SME support policies and to review challenges for SMEs in Uzbekistan. The objective of the project was for the EBRD to identify areas to support the implementation of Uzbekistan’s Development Strategy 2017-2021, one key area for intervention being support to SME development. The EBRD therefore decided to investigate the current challenges to SMEs in Uzbekistan which needed to be addressed to support business growth and competitiveness. The assignment was implemented by indecon consulting GmbH.

The assignment consisted of:

  1. Mapping of the Legal and Institutional Environment of SMEs:
    • Mapping of national stakeholders that work on SME development,
    • Reviewing the latest reform proposals that will likely affect SME development
    • Preparing an overview of support programmes for SMEs in Uzbekistan by IFS and other development organizations
  2. Identification of key challenges for SME development and recommendations to address them:
    • Reviewing the statistical data from the Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS), a private sector survey carried out by EBRD and World Bank between 2018 and 2020 to identify key challenges faced by SMEs’
    • Conducting a (complementary) public sector survey of 18 government and quasi-government organisations,
    • Conducting a series of (complementary) online surveys of SMEs, focus groups and interviews related to the main identified challenges and affected sectors,
    • Conducting a survey on challenges to SME development because of the Covid-19 pandemic,
    • Performing a consolidated analysis of the BEEPS, the National Stakeholder Survey and all complementary online surveys and meetings, as well as expert opinions
  3. Assessing the key challenges for SME development and formulating recommendations to address them, based on experiences from comparable countries.


The findings, the main challenges for SME development and the proposed solutions, including examples from other relevant countries, were presented to the Uzbek government, with a focus on discussing how these challenges could best be addressed in Uzbekistan.

Type of Services Provided

  • Identifying relevant ministries, agencies and other organisations in relation to SME support,
  • Preparing and submitting a questionnaire to 18 identified government and quasi-government organisations regarding their specific tasks and responsibilities on SME support to determine which policies had been adopted or were planned for adoption, and which related programmes supporting SMEs had been approved,
  • Evaluating answers and conducting follow-up interviews to deepen the information provided and to obtain opinions on the main challenges to SME development and their priority ranking,
  • Assessing SME relevant strategies, policies, laws, decrees, circulars, etc
  • Identifying and meeting relevant donors, IFIs, and other stakeholders, researching their databases on programmes and projects, preparing post meeting reports
  • Reviewing the statistical data from BEEPS to identify key challenges faced by SMEs’
  • Identifying relevant SME sectors not covered by BEEPS to be addressed by a complementary survey,
  • Designing and conducting sector and SME specific complementary online surveys to identify key challenges faced by SMEs’,
  • Developing an integrated report featuring a consolidating list and ranking of barriers to SME growth and formulating a set of solutions supported by relevant experience from comparable countries
  • Conducting a survey on challenges to SME development because of the Covid-19 pandemic,
  • Presentation and discussion of the results and proposed solutions to the Uzbek government and the EBRD.