- Governments must defend the development of an environment conducive to the continued creation and development of new SMEs.
- Culture and society, state of mind and training are three essential elements of the entrepreneurial ecosystem to accelerate the growth of SMEs.
- Our institutions must realign the educational program with the needs of the 21st century, that is to say the creation of jobs for sustainable development.
Over the past three decades, the level of government interest in entrepreneurship and small business development as potential solutions to slowing economic growth and rising unemployment has increased dramatically.
Entrepreneurial activity is recognized as a major source of jobs and economic development.
Global research indicates that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for over 90 percent of all businesses outside of agriculture.
Most people who start and grow businesses are driven by opportunity. Others are motivated by the need to make a living when company executives downsizing replace them with technology and fire them. Most of these companies take the shape and form of SMEs.
SMEs are found in a wide range of business activities, ranging from the sole craftsman producing agricultural tools, a cafe, a small town internet cafe, to a small sophisticated engineering or software company selling in overseas markets and manufacturers. medium-sized selling inputs or products in local and international markets.
SME owners may or may not be poor and businesses embody different levels of skills, capital, sophistication and orientation towards growth, and perhaps in the formal or informal economy.
Small businesses are a major source of employment and can also generate significant domestic and export revenues. These positive economic indicators have made SME development a key instrument in poverty reduction efforts.
A small and micro-enterprise is therefore the result of a successful entrepreneurial activity.
Research has shown that the success of entrepreneurial activities depends to a large extent on the infrastructure or ecosystems available in a country.
In a document presented to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2004, it was noted that the development of SMEs requires a transversal strategy that touches on many areas.
Areas mentioned in the document included the capacity of governments to implement sound macroeconomic policies and the capacity of stakeholders to develop conducive microeconomic business environments.
This analogy still holds today. Put simply, the OECD paper says that for SMEs to thrive, there needs to be simplified legal and regulatory frameworks, good governance, abundant and accessible finance, appropriate infrastructure, supportive education, and a workforce. sufficiently sound and flexible workmanship as well as competent public and private institutions, and the ability of SMEs to implement competitive operating practices and business strategies.
The OECD document further stated that the SME development strategy should be integrated into broader national development plans for poverty reduction to stimulate small business growth.
These discussions on SMEs as an engine of growth and poverty eradication are still ongoing globally. However, as these discussions focus on how governments can help SMEs grow, they must champion the development of an environment conducive to the continued creation and development of new SMEs.
Therefore, culture and society, mindset and training are three essential elements of the entrepreneurial ecosystem to accelerate the growth of SMEs.
Growing up, at one point or another you must have been told repeatedly to read hard and go to college and later find a good job.
Others took it a step further by telling some of us that if we did really well we would win a scholarship to study and work abroad.
Therefore, we all went into the books, read, and did very well. True to word and form, some of us who were considered lucky all found formal employment and each took one more place. But what if the focus and mindset were different? What if from the start we had an education system designed to train students to be entrepreneurs from the start?
What if the system were such that you go to school to learn the ideas and skills needed to start a business and become an employer, to create jobs? I think, like a lot of people are doing now, to change our attitude and approach to entrepreneurship, which creates SMEs, we need to rethink our training program to educate students and make sense of them at an early stage, from kindergarten to university.
Our institutions must realign the educational program with the needs of the 21st century, that is to say the creation of jobs for sustainable development.
Entrepreneurship should not be seen as a last resort for those who have been made redundant, fired, made redundant, etc. It should be the first option and the resort. There should be competition to start innovative companies providing solutions to real societal challenges.
Students need to be trained to start businesses, start businesses, and be prepared to fail without ever giving up.
Training should aim to equip future wealth creators with the necessary skills, not to become loyal and efficient employees.
Students should be trained to be entrepreneurs from the start of their university life – training them to identify opportunities, manage risk, and what to accept, reject or avoid when making business decisions. Train students to become business owners and thinkers who can identify a corporate problem and find a solution. Train students in the culture of investment and savings, the starting point for becoming an entrepreneur.
There is a real wealth in providing a solution to a problem. Think deeply and avoid the ignominy of retreating into misery.
Government and business associations should provide mentoring, counseling and other support systems to young aspiring entrepreneurs.
Connect students with industry gurus and those who have excelled in business.
Most importantly, provide an industrial attachment to the students so that they can learn the art of business while still in school.
Our training models are always strongly focused on producing professionals to work in government and private institutions and only moonlight to do consultations here and there to supplement income.
Our engineers look forward to working for big tech and big business. Accountants want to join blue-chip companies or go abroad to be employed behind a clean desk. But can you imagine how many jobs could be created if all professionals with over 10 years of experience mustered the courage and started something in their full-time line? I’m talking about engineers, doctors, accountants, architects, surveyors, lawyers, marketers, and public relations professionals, among others.
There would be an SME boom in this country if that happened. To achieve this and for the entrepreneurial spirit to take root, professional societies must also play their part.
Professional societies are responsible for registering members for private practice. Their entry rules may require a bit of tinkering so that they don’t become barriers, but entry enablers.
They should relax certain rules to facilitate and facilitate the admission of new entrants. It is a sensible way to create a sustainable formal SME.
Perhaps the biggest bottleneck in the creation of SMEs is our societal architecture for success. Entrepreneurs are seen as people who have failed and are frustrated. Colleagues in formal employment are considered to be more successful.
Maybe society should also recognize the power of SMEs to create wealth and therefore start encouraging our unemployed sons and daughters to think about entrepreneurship.