Small Business Development

This article introduces the concept of small business and the approach to small business development. It answers the questions: Why are small businesses important? How to support small business development? This topic includes micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The article introduces important nuances in our understanding of the role small businesses play in the economy and…

Private Sector Development

This article introduces the concept of the private sector and private sector development. It answers the questions: What is the private sector? What is private sector development? This topic is important, not only for economic development and job creation, but also because it is increasingly used to deliver social services.  Private sector development encompasses a…

The SME Test: Assessing the impact of new laws and regulations on SMEs

New laws and regulations quickly accumulate and cause administrative overload for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) because the costs of compliance are often disproportionately higher than for large enterprises. In many countries, the number of laws and regulations adopted each year to which SMEs must comply is increasing dramatically. While this is not a bad…

Supporting Public-Private Partnerships for Industry Development

Dealing with the practical problems private firms face when nurturing innovative processes; lessons from Rwanda Industry development and commercial innovation are often presented in idealised terms, focusing on shiny new start-ups and ignoring the struggle of existing firms.  It is challenging to understand the practical problems of private firms face and use this information to…

Frugal innovations contribution to regional and economic development

I’ve been working on policy guidance to encourage frugal innovation (more on this later) and want to share my thoughts on the relevance of frugal innovation for regional and local economic development. Frugal innovation has been promoted as a business management practice that can be applied in resource-constrained conditions. However, it is also relevant for…

Micro and small enterprises: preferential policy treatment and exclusions

Many governments around the world assign policy preferences to micro and small enterprises. There are two rationales for this. First, micro and small enterprises deserve of special attention because of their overall contribution to national development. As a total sector, micro and small enterprises are major contributors to employment in almost all countries. Second, micro and small…

SME Development Agencies

Over the last few months, I’ve provided advice to a number of government funded national SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) development agencies. Such agencies are very popular among governments, but less so among enterprise development specialist. While they can focus government efforts on supporting the small business sector, they can easily become expensive bureaucracies that…

The global economy drives SME growth and job creation

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in economic development and job creation. While the general features of this role are understood, there are many features of this that require more research. Of particular interest to countries and regions around the world is the importance of the traded economy –– that part of…

Arguments on Africa de-industrialisation

It’s been interesting to observe the range of arguments surrounding the topic of “Africa’s de-industralisation”. These range from whether or not Africa is indeed de-industralising, to how best to re-industrialise. Within these discussions there are interesting debates on the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the importance of business environment reform, the need for…