The Economics and Management of Small Business: An International Perspective

By Graham Bannock | Go to book overview

8

Training and support

The universal availability of SME support systems

As mentioned in Chapter 7, virtually all developed country governments provide subsidised information services for SMEs, with some form of consultancy or advisory services. Most also subsidise employer and employee training in one form or another, specifically for small firms, to extend public educational and vocational training. These support services are also provided by donors or NGOs in developing countries. The government-sponsored support systems run alongside, and in some cases partly incorporate, semi-public or private not-for-profit services such as those of chambers of commerce and trade associations and, to an extent, compete with purely commercial services run for profit.

Government-sponsored support systems, particularly for information and advice, date mainly from the 1960s and 1970s; though in a few countries (for example, the Netherlands) they date from the inter-war period; and, in Japan at least, the origins go back even further.

Under the umbrella of the Japan Small and Medium Enterprise Corporation (JASMEC) there are 251 Regional Support Centers, 54 Prefectural Support Centers and 8 Venture Business Support Centers. There is also an Institute for Small Business Management and Technology, with nine regional offices.

The United States has SBDCs in some 1,000 locations. These centers are co-operative efforts between State and Federal government, educational institutions and business but were initiated and are supervised by the SBA, which in 1999 provided grants of $72 million. There are also SBA-sponsored Business Information Centers at 45 locations, and assistance is available from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) at 700 locations (including SBDCs).

The UK has a support system, Business Link, similar to that in the United States; that is, it involves partnerships with local organisations under the SBS. The 45 business link operators (BLOs), as they are called, have rolling three-year contracts and receive grants in return for the provision of specified services. BLOs have separate contracts with the Learning and

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The Economics and Management of Small Business: An International Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms xi
  • 1 - Defining and Counting Small Firms 1
  • 2 - Some Characteristics of Small Firms and Their Owners 6
  • 3 - Do Small Firms Matter? 27
  • 4 - The Constraints on Small Firms 47
  • 5 - Business Owners and Government 63
  • 6 - Entrepreneurs and Managers 89
  • 7 - Government Policies on Small Firms 110
  • 8 - Training and Support 142
  • 9 - Small Firms in Developing Countries 165
  • 10 - The Big Picture 192
  • Appendix 206
  • Bibliography 218
  • Index 236
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