publication • Sunday, November 12th 2017
SERVING THE ‘MISSING MIDDLE’ – GROWING SMALL AGRICULTURAL BUSINESSES TO REDUCE POVERTY AND INCREASE SOCIAL IMPACT
Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) play a critical role in the economies of high-income countries. In Australia, SMEs account for 95% of all trading businesses. That’s more than two million actively trading SME’s, employing 70% of the Australian workforce and contributing 46% of our national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).Research shows that within low-income countries, SME’s on average employ only 30% of the workforce and contribute approximately 17% to their country’s GDP. Access to suitable finance was identified as the largest challenge for SMEs, with two-thirds of SMEs in developing countries being unable to borrow the money they need to scale their business. Many have graduated beyond the limits of microfinance, yet are unable to access loans from traditional banks. This credit gap for smallformal businesses in poor countries, which fall within this ‘missingmiddle’, has been estimated at over US one trillion dollars.