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Does the Future of SMEs Lie in Global Collaboration? Business across borders can help in the growth of small businesses believe bureaucrats

By Komal Nathani

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) have a major role to play in every country's economy. When it comes to global expansion and interest, it has always been for start-ups in India. But with the government also favouring the growth of SMEs, more and more businesses are coming out and interacting with global investors.

Yet, a large section of this sector in India remains unorganized, crippling under numerous issues that fall under financial, social and political verticals.

But, most experts believe that the issues of SMEs are similar no matter where they are based out of. To address those issues globally, the World Association for Small and Medium Enterprises (WASME) organized its 21st International Conference on Small and Medium Enterprises, where representatives/entrepreneurs from different countries could meet and discuss how the barriers can be reduced and growth can be fuelled.

Entrepreneur India caught up with the representatives of three different countries on the sidelines of the event to know how each country is contributing to a global value chain and how a collaboration with Indian SMEs could further enhance development.

Innovative Indians Take the Lead

The Indian and South African markets are quite similar with a burgeoning middle class and lot of growth opportunities. Talking about how small businesses can change the fate of a country and help them rise from poverty with dignity, the Vice President, WASME Group, Managing Director, FINCORP, Swaziland, Dumisani J Msibi said, "This sector should be facilitated in every possible way to overcome their growth issues. We find Indian nationals to be quite innovative and also seek out for opportunities without hesitating, so there is definitely an opportunity to collaborate. There was a time when almost everywhere you went; you would find a "China-town', that has now been replaced with an "India-town'."

Sharing his insights and idea about the growth of Indian and African SMEs together, Mjibi said, "Governments from both the countries should create an open bilateral relation that allows these SMEs to trade. SMEs should have the access to enter markets with speed. Getting licences shouldn't be a difficult task."

A Global Approach Can Help National Growth

Talking about how the impact of a bilateral relation is greater for countries closer to home, Amir Hossain Amu, Hon'ble Minister, Ministry of Industry, Government of Bangladeshs said, "Ninety per cent of Bangladesh's business class is SME. We are looking at how we can manage the collaboration of these SMEs to the small businesses of other countries, so that there's economical development of both countries. Bilateral cooperation will not be kept aside and it will be a major part of our agenda."

Amu added that SMEs in Bangladesh are maintaining good pace and the further international collaboration will bring the necessary development.

Support from Governments is Essential

Governments play a major role in the growth of SMEs and there's no denying that believes Alhaji Babale Umaru Girei, President WASME, Ex Chairman, Standard Microfinance Bank, Nigeria. He spoke about how traditionally, large businesses which started as SMEs have been able to grow because of support from the government. "In Nigeria, specific organizations have been made to promote SMEs. Certain micro-finance banks and financial organizations should be set up across the countries with an objective to fund SMEs," he said.

A lot of a SMEs growth also depends on believing in their growth believes Girei.

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!

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