FROM THE DESK OF SECRETARY GENERAL
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are businesses which are small, usually single-owned and local in approach.
They are recognised globally as the engines of economic development and industrial growth, solving the twin problems of unemployment and poverty.
Due to their inherent nature, they have traditionally had an advantage over bigger firms when it comes to tapping local skills and resources. Their small size has also ensured flexibility and innovation in terms of products and processes.
Globalisation and economic liberalisation have brought about huge opportunities in terms of access to foreign markets and new technologies. They have, however, also thrown up a unique set of challenges.
This includes the emerging trend of bigger, better-equipped firms getting aggressive in products and geographical areas which have traditionally been considered as SME territory.
The SME sector also faces obstacles when it comes to obtaining the quantum of finance needed to fund growth and acquisition of new technologies, management systems and manufacturing processes.
ISSME seeks to develop a global association of small businesses and their supporting institutions for the sustainable and inclusive growth of SMEs through exchange of knowledge and networking opportunities.
While governments and international support organisations have been engaged in serious efforts to ensure sustainable development of the SME sector, small enterprises are going through a rough phase in Europe after the global financial crisis.
In Africa, several governments have taken the economic diversification route to promote SMEs. They have been pushing for optimal utilisation of latent natural resources by SMEs to ensure development of rural areas and improve the standard of life and social services.
When we talk of sustainable development, we just cannot ignore the stellar role played by the SME sector when it comes to generating employment, contributing to a nation’s GDP and reducing dependency on imports.
The presence of so many organisations, besides national governments and the United Nations, working for SMEs worldwide means ISSME will have to engage with the sector through a very effective global network to come up with the best possible solutions to ensure their growth and sustainable development.
ISSME will strive to build synergies between the activities of micro and SMEs across the world and the enabling framework and programmes of governments and Non-Government Organisations working for the promotion of the sector.
The idea is to bring together policy makers, facilitators, experts, educators, researchers and small business enterprises from around the world to share their experience, knowledge and expertise.
We at ISSME look forward to a fruitful association with members, partners, affiliates and entrepreneurs from the SME sector to bring about positive change which will benefit nations, individuals and societies.
Sunil D Sharma
Secretary General, ISSME