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We know why SMEs are important – among numerous other reasons, they create jobs, improve forward and backward linkages across diverse sectors, tend to lead to technical innovation, fuel private ownership and increase marketplace competitiveness. Yet despite them being the de facto growth engines of most of the world’s economics, their success rate is surprisingly slim – here in South Africa, for example, an estimated 70% of new businesses fail within 18 months. Why is this the case?

Thierry Tanoh, director for Africa of the International Finance Corporation, recently commented that “their [SME] success rate is not as good as it could be simply because of a lack of access to good business management practices. Giving small businesses the information and new collaborative technologies they need will help them grow and prosper.” He’s right. The likes of SAP, Oracle and Microsoft are assertively courting the SME sector because they know that our globalised digital economy means that business challenges are business challenges, no matter what size you are. And possibly because they’ve seen the future too – and it’s smaller than one might think. In this, the second annual edition of bytesize, we once again present a wide range of topics and issues critical to SMEs and their success. Enjoy the read.

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