SMEs rank survival and expansion as top challenges
Most SMEs and mid-sized companies worldwide find survival and expansion (67%) as their main challenge, highlighted a study by the World Economic Forum and the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Their main pressure points include low margins, the challenge of scaling the business and expanding to new markets, and finding clients or consumers.
The survey, which builds on responses of 800 leaders and executives from SMEs and mid-sized companies across the globe, revealed that other challenges faced include talent acquisition and retention (48%), culture and values (34%), funding and access to capital (24%), and non-favourable business policy environments (22%).
Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, said, “The business community is stepping up to tackle the biggest issues facing the world. SMEs and mid-sized companies are key enablers in this pursuit.”
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The wider policy environment plays a key role and has a direct impact on smaller firms’ ability to thrive. It is therefore important for policymakers, investors, and their stakeholders to do what is in their capabilities to contribute to building the future readiness of this segment of the economy, noted the report.
Rashimah Rajah, Professor at NUS and co-lead author of the report, added, “SMEs and mid-sized companies have unique strengths in their ability to pivot their business models to be more future-ready and, by hiring and developing the right talent, they can mobilise positive internal and external change faster than larger companies.”