Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly being recognized as highly productive drivers of economic growth across many African countries. Let us take the example of the Kenyan economy. As SME’s employ about 85 % of the Kenyan workforce (African Economic Outlook Report), this translates to almost 5 million people. SMEs are therefore not only an important subsector of the economy, but they also steer competition and, more importantly, innovation.
The Kenyan Government, aware that SMEs serve as an impetus for economic diversification through their development of unsaturated economic sectors, has taken all-important steps to develop a legal and regulatory framework aimed at guiding the growth of SMEs.
Opportunity for Expansion
This is good news, and with my personal background, I am adamant that technology-based SMEs will provide the crucial platform for expanding outside of domestic borders, with potential not only across the African continent but international markets too.
However, it is important to note that it is the ability to analyze and predict business in particular that presents the most important opportunities for improved market access, regional as well as international.
Empowered by the rapid spread of information and communication technologies (ICT), as well as ever decreasing prices for communication, Kenya now has a competitive advantage over many other African countries.
One of the benefits of ICT is of course better analytics. These allow SMEs to shift from being reactive to being proactive and can create the necessary competitive edge that will allow a business to thrive.
Antarc Ltd is a Kenya-based SME in the office and home furniture industry. With just 85 employees, they were able to use the power of analytics to grow fivefold in five years, increase their customer base and product lines, and become leaders in the market in a short span of time.
I rest my case.