GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF INTERNATIONAL S.M.E

  1. Introduction

Over the past years different authors concentrated on small business growth, rather than management of the firm and other aspects of growth and developments of international small and medium entrepreneurships mostly excluding finance sector. Finance is one of major contributor of economic developments and employment of small and medium entrepreneurships indifferent countries. However there are a growing trend of researchers who have written various articles, journals and books which illustrate that there is positive relationship between economic development and entrepreneurship. The evidenced was widely spread and supported by policy makers from the Global Entrepreneurship monitor who emphasized that the relationship between entrepreneurship and economic growth go hand in hand with the levels of economic developments. According to the GEM framework individuals become entrepreneurs either because they are pushed into it because other option that provide work are not satisfying or to exploit a given business opportunity. However necessity entrepreneurship is high at low levels of economic developments but it decreases economy develops and manufacturing and production sectors create more job opportunities and the vice versa is true. For example private sector business like a bank, growing businesses are potentially attractive clients as the firm’s growth and development is associated with demand for finances and other service it provides.  The purpose of this paper is to bring up clearly what is meant by growth in small firms, to consider some of the methods, theories and concepts used to explain development and growth in small and medium entrepreneurships, assess barriers and opportunities that affect the growth and development of small and medium entrepreneurships and lastly to identify some of the main issues that are facing management of growing small and medium entrepreneurships.        

1.1 Literature review 

Much of the growth and development of small and medium entrepreneurship was defined in terms of employment according to writers like Wever, 2000. However this has been disapproved by various studies which have identified growth and development of international small and medium entrepreneurship. The studies have stated that out of 100 newly created entrepreneurships, the fastest growing firms will only create half the jobs in the group after 100 years in addition another study conducted by Smallbone, involved 306 manufacturing small and medium entrepreneurships over a period of 11 years showed that 23 % of the firms contributed 71% of all new jobs created. The enthusiasm of high growth and development rate of SMEs and their inconsistent contributions to economic development and employment opportunity, has lead both policymakers and scientific entrepreneurs in the community to have revival of their interests, (Acs et al. pp. 35-45). Consequently it has led to establishment of studies commissioned by policymakers who are seeking to identify the characteristics associated with growth and development of SMEs , this exercise involve ministry of trade and industry of various countries, and departments concerned with business, enterprise and regulations. There are different approaches and methods which are used to define high growth and development entrepreneurs, but policymakers oriented studies have always embraced the OECD definition that insists that if a firm realizes an annual growth of 20% per year over the period of three consecutive years, it should be termed as high growing enterprise and growth can be measure inters of the turnover/ sales it is making or the number of employees it has employed. According to Smallbone and Massey 2010 they noted that small entrepreneurship growth and development is normally sporadic. This implies that the high growth and development of an enterprise can be challenged if high growth rate means characteristic separation of the enterprise population a sit would be more realistic to think of growth and development of an entrepreneurship as something that occurs in phases which different firms go through i.e. start-up, survival/development, growth, maturity, decline time. Employment generation sometimes form an efficient method of  providing growth and development criterion but it in SMEs it is viewed as a result of growth rather than the main objective and strategy of business development. This is because the entrepreneur’s main aim of expanding their business is to increase their profits, sales turnover and net assets rather than employment generation.

Although many of the policymakers context use increased employment in their studies to define firm’s growth, another method is related to reliability and availability financial data (profits and sales turn over). In UK such data for small firms is less available as compared to larger firms as small firms are exempted from annual financial reporting, this makes researchers to heavily rely on self reported data which makes reliability and confidentiality issues to arise particularly with respect to sales and profitability. In addition the issues of not all owners see the importance of business objective need to be recognized when discussing the growth and development of small and medium entrepreneurships. This is because there are a variety of factors that contribute to why an individual starts and run a business, this means non business objective and lifestyle may lead to lack of growth and development orientation. In examining the role of growth motivation of business owners in regards to actual business growth, it is necessary to put into consideration the effects of previous business performance as well as previous motives. There exists a strong relationship between growth performance and growth motivation particularly when motivation is measured in terms of employment, this illustrates that the importance of business growth and development in relation to other ambitions that entrepreneur may desire can be altered over time.            

 Modern studies on international small and medium entrepreneurship have generally concentrated on the quick internationalization of firms for example international innovative endeavors. International entrepreneurship is defined as ratification, invention, assessment and exploitation of opportunities across international boundaries to produce future good and service. This mostly focuses on opportunity recognition as the main perspective of the studies. The International Small and Medium Entrepreneurships (SMEs) are thought to be the engine of growth, employment-generating machine in many developing countries of the world. Such enterprises are labor-intensive and use simple production technology in a given country. International entrepreneurships mostly the lack of economic opportunities in the communities they operate in (Carter & Jones-Evans 2012, pp. 14-21). However, the Foundation for Sustainable Development has facilitated the growth and development of the international entrepreneurships with the tools they require to acquire employment and put together doing-well businesses. Growth and development is achieved through partnering with more than 50 community-based organizations to present three most important services: microfinance and access to markets, vocational/business training, and technical assistance. Microfinance is the chief characteristic of international small and medium entrepreneurships growth and development. Muhammad Yunus is the famous pioneer who recently made the reforms in the sector of SMEs. This is due to the fact that conventional lending does not reach the less privileged entrepreneurs; microfinance offers a collective solution that lends small increments of capital to local and international businesses (Byrd & Megginson 2013,pp.78-90). In addition to credit lending, Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) educate and train entrepreneurs to successfully and effectively amalgamate savings philosophy/ideologies and credit management into their enterprise growth and development (Riggs & Bonk 2008,pp. 67-70). However, training offered diverges between organization and region, but common training topics offered by FSD comprise: business plan development, internationally and locally appropriate professional skills, business management and bookkeeping, integrating technology, and marketing/outreach for the good that the entrepreneurs produce. Training is presented through various methods such as personality counseling, workshops, mentoring programs, and peer networking. To help SMEs to maximize prosperity and increase turnovers, FSD works with an objective to expand access to international and local markets through building strong affiliations, strategic advancement, and research. Growth and development has mainly been achieved through microfinance and access to markets training (Casson 2006, pp. 32-53).

  1. Growth and developments of international S.M.E

Over time there have been various written materials about growth and development of small and medium enterprises, but there is not been a single theory that can effectively and efficiently explain growth and developments. This is because there a variety of different factors that can determine growth and development of a Small and medium enterprise, however there is a broad agreement about the main influences on SMEs growth and development as summarized below.

  2.1 NGO Business and Fair Trade Organizations

Growth and development of international SMEs under the non-government organizations and trade fair organizations have significantly helped minimize the risk for marginalized entrepreneurs. This is through providing business development services and marketing services in particular targeting the international SMEs. The development and growth is also realized when the NGOs focus on ensuring that these entrepreneurs are fairly paid for what they offer in the market. The NGOs have recently undertaken the responsibility of product marketing, distribution, and design, not forgetting identifying the markets for micro-enterprise products locally and internationally.

Vulnerable groups of entrepreneurs also receive specific training about the products the NGOs sell locally and export outside that region that they operate. Growth and development contribution from multiple sectors, include the private sector (SMEs), NGOs and government programs (e.g. NGOs to recognize probable program participants, SMEs to act as potential markets for microenterprise services and products or to present entrepreneurial training, and the state to make available a wide variety of facilitation services) (Davidsson, Achtenhagen, & Naldi 2010, pp.48-63).

2.2 Public sector policies and programs

Local government, central government, and the community support are very crucial in the growth and development of international SMEs. Developments are realized all over the continent through micro-enterprise funding, provision of access to supplementary markets through catalogues, maximized training, access to special venues, and sporting events are all crucial encouragement to assist and bring growth and development. The diminutive size of these businesses and their comparative geographical remoteness means that there is frequently a strong need for an outside body to assist and facilitate their growth and development. Normally, nevertheless, staff and financial resources at the disposal of micro-businesses are inadequate, predominantly throughout the pre-start-up period (Zedtwitz 2003, pp. 69-78).

Government-driven procedures are intended to accomplish precise, targeted impacts or to arrive at significant objectives in micro-entrepreneurship activity. Government maintained programs or policies promote growth and development in the private sector and engage the recognized private sector in performance an important responsibility. The programs and services presented are comparatively varied (for example setting aside strategy for women-owned businesses and provide financial assistance for involvement in intercontinental trade fairs). Successful public programming and policy requires take-up, awareness, and feedback and response mechanisms to ensure that the objectives are being addressed and the idea behind international SMEs’ growth and development agenda is fully implemented (Hessels 2008,pp.34-56).

2.3 Facilitators

Growth and developments under the facilitators programs is the recent introduction of the intermediaries work with SMEs to try and find an opening in the market place and come up with ways to make possible cooperative activities for entrepreneurs to support them in increasing their small production businesses or expanding their services and products. Facilitators have also started working with the small and medium entrepreneurships through assisting them in getting their product and services complete for distribution in the available markets. This comprises developing and identifying markets for precise goods and put into practice distribution medium such as catalogues (Smallbone 2010, pp. 100-123).

The role of facilitator is particularly significant because it includes growth and development activities which are focused on the market access and export requirements of those small medium entrepreneurs who may be in too remote location and marginalized to be capable of affording the expenses linked with market identification and development. The development responsibility differentiates this activity from the market improvement services presented by businesses which are well equipped and positioned to deal with the welfare of SMEs. Facilitator has brought equilibrium demand with the aptitude of SMEs, which was traditionally temporary and limited as the entrepreneurs gained and enhanced capacity and the market development progression.

For the facilitator growth and development to be efficient and effective, the public and private and sectors of the economy must take part in a coordinative function in market access and planning. Facilitators also need a wider engagement of industry, men and women entrepreneur networks, and sector councils. An advantage of the facilitators in the small and medium entrepreneur is that there is some degree of product standardization and  a built-in quality-control element and is offered, along with control of production according to the degree of market access and the accumulation of new suppliers as market share maximizes (Susman 2007 ,pp 90-96).

The involvement of facilitators help the small and medium entrepreneurs to acquire the skills and tools necessary for marketing their products and services, the cost of obtaining  tools and skills indeed would be too high if the  necessary. Access to internet has been developed which facilitate market readiness, operated by communication specialists and experts (Stevenson 2010, pp.12-17).

2.3 Aggregators (business pooling)

The development and growth of small and medium entrepreneurs under aggregators is the approach that identifies products, businesses, and services that are very comparable in quality, design, and market identification, and brings them simultaneously under one common product offered in the marketplace. Aggregators now work with small and medium entrepreneurs to fill orders, they conduct quality control procedures and processes and set standards; characteristically dealing in one product region (not frequent in the services sector). Growth and developments under aggregators also provide the services of a broker, which is eminent in a two-way function that requires comprehensive and sell associates and links, and proven competence in delivery systems (Matlay 2007, pp 57-78).

Aggregator integrates with e-communities to offer the most direct prospects for fostering actual trade activity among international small and medium entrepreneurs. Mostly, small and medium entrepreneurs that are almost ready to export, but there is a need for a variety of support services at every stage of international small and medium entrepreneurs development, from start-up to expansion, including programs and policies geared to each stage and to various types of SMEs.

A frequent quality of aggregators in realizing growth and development of international small and medium entrepreneurs is aggregating micro-enterprise products and organizing them around specific industries, sectors, or regional, local, or economy uniqueness. Clustering associations of entrepreneurs will facilitate businesses to become operational swiftly, because an immediate group of entrepreneurs is created in which manufacturers and service providers work mutually to strengthen their production, processes, and formulate the transition to new markets internationally and locally. The growth and development has been the most cost-effective strategy to encourage micro-enterprises and discovering of potential new markets for their products and services (Keilbach et al. 2009, pp.47-68). 

2.4 Catalogue distribution

A catalogue contribution improves the capacity of international small and medium entrepreneurs; this enables them to do more business in the local economy and in a foreign country and therefore promoting their export potential and consequently fostering growth and development the industry. Furthermore, catalogue marketing enables the small and medium entrepreneurs to produce capacity of any size, which can be altered to suit a targeted number of various niche markets. Catalogues offers items ranging from one to a massive amount of items, intended for consumers or for other businesses. Scalability for SMES is addressed by examining the production capacity of small and medium enterprises that may be working off the record, and therefore they are able only to offer limited quantities (Padoan 2010, pp. 59-67).

The adoption of catalogue distribution generates the most interest and excitement among the entrepreneurs. The reason for this is that it is the easy to concentrate and understand, and thus entrepreneurs find it easy to use it as they are immediately acquainted to the concepts. To get items collectively into a single catalogue, small and medium entrepreneurs would require a number of supports, for example examining the production capability of producers, aid with selecting the product offered to be aggregated into the catalogue, choosing themes for aggregating products and identifying potential target markets (Shifotoka 2010, pp. 73-81).

Over the years several growth and development have taken place in form of technological, scientific considerations and the development of niche markets. These incorporate storage of images, digital images, equipment and technical specifications and presentation. The considerations are then followed by a dry run process to check for any bugs and a replicate which is necessary for the small and medium entrepreneurs to understand all of the processes. The catalogue approach also considers SME financial advice and the costs related with operation and production, where the facilitators assist with allocating costing to the products with the help of other communication specialists and experts who are very useful in giving advice on the best way to organize the various aspects of a catalogue (Lind 2011, pp. 47-58).

2.5 E-Business and E-Communities

Growth and development is also evident on online fora which connects small and medium entrepreneurs and stakeholders to share information and best practices, build market and trade expansion links, and enable them to have effective feedback through vibrant platforms, video conferencing, webcasting, video clips, and other technology tools. This e-business and e-communities comprises Internet based fora or businesses assisting entrepreneurs in making important financial gains by connecting them with prospective customers and distributors.

There are services which facilitate online activity for small and medium entrepreneurs and these services helps develop and organize information through online negotiations and chat group’s through various platforms like Skype, twitter, Gmail, yahoo,  Facebook etc. Entrepreneurs always have a link to virtual trade missions (such as the Virtual Aboriginal Trade Show). Every day there have developments whereby some service provider’s organizations offer turnkey sites which provide the listing know-how needed to offer products and services on line (Parrilli, Sugden, Bianchi & Palgrave Connect (Online service) 2008,pp.21-45).

2.6 Equity contributions

Equity contribution is a more straight approach to entrepreneurship start-ups and expansions. Small and medium entrepreneurs obtain entrepreneur-directed assistance in the form of grants and loans, accompanied by technological advice and expertise. This structure of financial assistance is usually obtained from economic development programs and government from other institutionally based developers like trade development authority.

Small and medium entrepreneurs receive a certain percentage of start-up or developments and growth costs, and the entrepreneur’s contributions can comprise of “sweat equity.” Equity contributions are mutual combined with other loan products to supplement finances the enterprises (Nummela 2011, pp.34- 78).

2.7 Franchises

Developments and growth under franchises is through a licensing system, whereby the owner (franchiser or licensor) of a given product or service permits the granting of a license to others (entrepreneurs) to market products or services within a distinct region, following the procedure  and strategies established by the franchiser. New entrepreneur’s disclosure documents and must give all material essentials about the entrepreneurship, operations, and entrepreneur ownership conditions prior to the franchise acquirement (Jones et al. 2009, pp.9-16).Usually, suppliers have been identified for the small and medium entrepreneurs, but there is always room to add supply from outside the entrepreneurship product range. Franchisers provide the essential small and medium entrepreneurs training. The entrepreneurs are requested to formulate an ongoing purchase of shares and compensate franchise fees. The enterprise also requires considerable amount of cash flow financing. (Jones 2009, pp. 41- 50)

3.0 Barriers and opportunities facing international S.M.Es

3.1 Barriers 

Barriers facing International small and medium entrepreneurship are the factors that have already  negative mindset that international market is unknown to entrepreneur and he/she might find it complicated and intricate to start his/her business in a foreign country will be the main barrier affecting international entrepreneurships .New entrant in host countries may not be aware about language, education, tradition, religion, values of citizens which will make it difficult for the entrepreneur to understand mindset, taste and preference of customer in market. Nevertheless, there are other barriers affecting the international entrepreneurship, namely;

Lack of information: International entrepreneurs are new entrants for international trade and in international market; this is because they are unaware about the market terms and conditions in host country, taste and preference of customers which may lead to issues related to  customers accepting and locating product in market. 

Lack of network influences: Where there is network already established, business and companies makes it easy for the entrepreneur to be established in new market compared to entrepreneurs who have no contacts in foreign country. This makes it difficult for entrepreneur beginning from the initial stage of obtaining the required permission to establish in a foreign state. The result is financing problems as financial institutions may be reluctant in terms of providing required finance to entrepreneurs. 

Tariff barriers: This is the duty charged by the revenue authority of any government on goods and services imported. Government imposed tariff raises the price of imported goods making them less appealing to customers as compared to domestically produced goods and services. Consequently tariffs protect domestic manufacturers and producers .Non tariff barriers are the obstacles facing the entrepreneurs importing other than duties levied they include certification, testing, or bureaucratic measures that have effect of restricting imports. These are governmental actions that are imposed by a local government to show favoritism against foreign goods and in favor of home goods. 

Technical barriers: mostly are experienced when a country’s goods’ entering into foreign market goes through certain test and processes for authentication purposes. For example in U.S.A before foodstuff products from other countries are marketed in U.S.A  they will have to be tested for bacteria content in food items for safety of general public, which is essential procedure for safety of host country but may prove to be a major barrier for entrepreneurs who are expanding internationally. 

Political barrier:  This sometimes forms an abundant opportunity for entrepreneurs when there is political stability in foreign countries which they are targeting to establish there markets. But if there is some political scenario in country such as kidnappings, a bombing, violent against business and employees affects the future success of the business for example in Libya during the overthrowing of Gaddafi in 2009- 2010.

Human resource: The presence of labor unions, hostile management unions relations, and strike, increases cost of labor in foreign country this proves difficult for entrepreneur to establish business in foreign market (Dess, pp. 46-70).

3.2 Opportunities

Increased sales and profit:  this is possible when entrepreneurs are not able to make profit but only get break even point or demand for their product decreases in home market. Entrepreneurs can put on the market their products in foreign market where life cycle of product is in favorable condition/ boom. E.g. Apple earned more profits from international business than in local market US in the year 1994, and the Mc Donald’s who opted to manufacture in there  host country i.e. Indian market .

 Advantage of cheap labor: International entrepreneurships can access quantity and quality of labor which is one of the major challenges facing international entrepreneurship. If the labor is cheap in foreign countries than in the local market the entrepreneur can subcontract the required labor to conduct his/her foreign operations. The increased cost of acquiring labor in China has forced companies and entrepreneurs to search for other options like outsourcing other companies to perform some operations .Growth opportunity: Entrepreneurs whose principal business strategy and objective is expand and diversification of entrepreneurship, international business is one of the primary platforms to achieve these objectives whi8ch are clearly formulated service charter.  

Expansion of domestic market: entrepreneurs are availed with the opportunity to offer a range of products when international business makes the domestic market expand beyond national boundaries, and thus the entrepreneurs can market their products globally Example of companies which have taken advantage of expansion of domestic market include Sony, Tata and Ford in order to keep in pace with competition to attract and retain customers. 

Globalization of competitors: international small and medium entrepreneurs increases the opportunity not only essential for the survival and growth but also for motivation purposes to face competition from global entrants in market, which in turn leads to growth ,pay offs of international of market, and pursuing global scale efficiencies. International entrepreneurship upgrades the image of entrepreneurship in local market and attracts more customers in domestic market due to internationalization of entrepreneurial business, E.g. Samsung (Byrd& Megginson, pp. 55-80).

4.0 Conclusion

From the above example sectors where Growth and development has taken place over the recent years to easy to note that expansion of Small and Medium Enterprises has benefited from networking which are increasing business associations and knowledge transfer from one entrepreneur to another, and they are very crucial in developing market opportunities. Production capacity of any size can be changed to suit a specific number of different niche markets, this is the growth and development from the establishment of catalogue marketing, while catalogue distribution generates a lot of excitements among entrepreneurs and other participants. This is because they are easy to the brochures provided and presented. Facilitators provide the entrepreneurs to develop necessary skills and essential tools vital for marketing their products and services. Therefore there is a lot of growth and development Small and Medium Enterprises sector internationally and domestically. Consequently I cannot fail to notice that are still plenty of opportunities and barriers facing international entrepreneurs. Mostly the barrier of tariff and political barrier affects the entrepreneurs when they are trying to expand internationally. 

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