As part of its effort to promote ethical business conduct and support SMEs to grow and innovate, CIPE has launched a collection of seven stories of SMEs from Europe and Eurasia who are committed to business ethics. These stories offer new and valuable insights into how doing business with integrity can unlock growth, investment, and staff retention. The study also provides important insights about the specific integrity challenges that SMEs continue to face in emerging markets, such as informality and corruption, and provides concrete recommendations on how to navigate such challenges. Drawing on fieldwork and interviews with local entrepreneurs and business associations, the publication also identifies lessons learned that business leaders and other stakeholders can use to inform future work and action.
“The report comes at a critical time,” says Ekaterina Lysova, Senior Program Officer for CIPE Europe & Eurasia and the leader of this initiative at CIPE. “As businesses around the world, particularly SMEs, started to recover from the effects of the pandemic, they now realize more than ever the importance of doing business ethically. Businesses thrive when they are well connected to the communities they serve, and companies where immaterial issues such as employee well-being and trust are important values, have shown greater resilience in dealing with the effects of COVID-19. That also likely applies to other unexpected crises, including the severe economic consequences of the Russian invasion in Ukraine and the enormous impact this has on countries in the region,” said Lysova.
Against the broader backdrop of ESG criteria driving corporate decision-making, the study brings concrete and directly applied good practices from the field to a larger audience. By highlighting how collective action and joining forces with other professionals and media have helped SMEs to mitigate corruption risks, the stories can inspire other firms in the region and beyond.
About CIPE: The Center for International Private Enterprise is a core institute of the National Endowment for Democracy and an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. CIPE’s mission is to strengthen democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform.