Does government do enough for SMEs?

19 September 2009

The UK Chartered Institute of Marketing has launched its latest Agenda Paper, Access all areas? which asks what kind of help does government really offer SMEs. Should government be merely a point of access for small and medium-sized companies seeking grants and funding, or should they offer more direct help to small companies?

The paper asks whether the options available to small companies that they are not taking full advantage of, and if so, is this due to resources or not knowing where to go? The Access all areas? paper considers these issues and discusses how the role of Government might best evolve to suit the disparate requirements of SMEs. It also considers how The Institute could best help the changing needs and wants of start-ups, micro-organisations and larger, more established SMEs.

Commenting on the paper’s findings, Mark Stuart, head of research at The Chartered Institute of Marketing said: “There’s a range of information, grants, assistance and training available from Government, but many small and medium-sized companies don’t pick up on this range to its full advantage, for a number of reasons. This is sometimes because the language and context of how help is delivered does not resonate with the business needs and wants of SMEs; there is also a further problem in treating ‘SMEs’ as one body, as the needs of start-ups, micro-organisations, small companies and medium-sized companies can differ.”

He adds, “Government need to recognise that many ‘business development’ issues are, at their core, marketing issues; there’s sometimes a lack of understanding of this. Our Agenda paper shows that this is not Government’s fault, because such understanding is not its sphere of expertise. That gives us a job to do, to prove that The Institute is not just a membership organisation with a narrow definition of ‘marketing’, but a business growth organisation, that places an emphasis on marketing as the engine that drives business.”

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