VIENNA, 23rd January, 2016 (WAM) – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) launched a handbook to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) better manage potential risks.

SMEs are considered a fundamental part of the global economy, however, setting them up and keeping them afloat is no easy task as usually only half of them remain in successful operation after five years.

Finding customers, having access to finance and getting adequate employees for the job are all challenges facing most entrepreneurs. Therefore, the early identification and the effective management of such risks could help improve the performance of SMEs and assure their sustainability.

The new publication, titled “ISO 31000 – Risk management” aims at helping SMEs improve the identification of opportunities and threats, and effectively allocate resources for risk treatment.

By helping SMEs understand the requirements of the ISO 31000 standard, compare their risk management practices with an internationally recognized benchmark, and provide them with sound principles for effective management, the handbook can guide SMEs on a path towards an improved competitiveness and a greater involvement in international trade.

John Lark, author of the handbook, notes that “a number of SME leaders don’t consider implementing formal risk management processes, believing they aren’t big enough to warrant a proper risk management system”. But he assures that “this guide has been written for the leaders in small organizations, people whose commitment and energy have created the enterprise and who, by implementing risk management effectively, can help their business to survive and grow”.