Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Small is beautiful!

Think about it - from 60 to 90 percent or more of economies of most countries are actually run by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Single owner enterprises, with single sources of income, a single line of products or a combination of these features characterize SMEs.

SMEs function independently, providing goods and services directly to the consumer, or form part of a supply chain, linking them to large business corporations producing complex products.

Sometimes also interchangeably called microenterprises, SMEs are legally registered and tax paying entities. This distinguishes them from the equally small household or one-person  enterprises that form an equally large proportion of the informal economic sectors of most developing countries (again up to 90% in some cities!).

A cross-cutting serendipitous tag for GDRC, issues related to SMEs influence research carried out by many of its programmes - particularly sustainable development, sustainable business, informal sector, microfinance, etc.

Greater attention need to be paid to SMEs - how can they contribute to better sustainability practices in the private sector? How can their environmental impacts be reduced? Without affecting their bottom line? Or making it part of the bottom line? Especially in developing countries? Questions that need further research ... more work to do!