There is a huge gap in policy formulation and its implementation in large number developing and emerging countries. Through various policies and programmes governments support Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector so as to enable them to contribute significantly to their economy. But still government’s role in supporting the development of entrepreneurship limits to reaching only a fraction of SMEs due to many factors such as lack of knowledge about the schemes, lack of expertise to undergo capacity building, financial limitations, etc. SMEs generally lack a voice at national-level and have limited access to government services in most of the developing economies. To create a favourable environment for the SMEs to proliferate and develop, local empowerment plays a key role.
Main actors at the local level in the private sector are business/ industry associations, chambers and local non-government organizations (NGOs). The most effective and feasible long-term solution for improving the regulatory environment from SMEs’ point of view is public-private sector dialogue. Consistent communication and interaction between the government and the private sector, including associations and NGOs, can play a crucial role in building an effective policy framework, useful support measures and arrangements for the growth and development of small businesses. Inadequacy in such interactions divests the government of appropriate inputs for policy making for SME sector.
The usual role of industry associations is to further the interests of and respond to external events of their members. On behalf of their members, industry associations present business viewpoints and interests to governments and lobby them on the enabling environment. Apart from lobbying, some business associations also offer specific services to their members on market opportunities, tax and legal matters. They offer an assortment of services such as business-related information, consulting services, advice regarding support programmes or establishing new business ventures, generally acting as a mediator between SMEs and the government.
It is often difficult to effectively engage SMEs through their associations. Such associations tend to be particularly weak in transition and developing countries. It is difficult for them to articulate the needs of a highly differentiated sector. Also in most of the developing countries SME associations are constrained for the prevalent perception among the government officials that associations are not legal bodies and thus they do not approve of their being eligible for project implementation. With some remarkable exceptions, most business associations in developing countries are undersized, informally organised and does not have the human capacity, financial resources and know-how to deliver a wider range of support services to SMEs.
To ensure that they can play their role in ‘lobbying’ for business interests effectively, ISSME associates with such industry associations and help them fulfilling the purpose of their establishment. We have a plan to partner with all local level industry associations across all continents to render meaningful services to SMEs through them. Being an association of SME support institutions, ISSME enrolls these associations as its members and partners to give a meaningful direction to their functioning.
For more information on getting associated with ISSME, please drop us a mail or contact at:
Public Relations Section
International Society for Small and Medium Enterprises
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