Tag Archive: Small and growing businesses



    Spring Impact recently published a research report produced in partnership with Numbers for Good, with support from the Argidius Foundation. The report identifies seven key barriers to effective advisory services focused on scale–– technical assistance (TA)–– for small and growing businesses (SGBs), and recommends the necessary steps to help more SGBs reach their scale goals.

    What if we were to tell you, that right now, there are a group of extraordinary organisations providing approximately 66% of employment opportunities, and generating 86% of new jobs in developing economies?[1]. That these organisations have the potential to transform economic development and access untapped markets of an estimated 4.5 billion new customers in 92 countries, valued at approximately $5 trillion USD.[2] That they are providing quality jobs, goods and services locally, and by doing so are lifting families and communities out of poverty, and generating larger-scale socioeconomic prosperity.

    We’re not talking about a tech company, or a government initiative, but small and growing businesses (SGBs). SGBs are interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, they are distinct from the broader group of micro, small, and medium three enterprises (MSMEs) in that despite their size, they have strong ambitions and potential for growth.

    Secondly, in their quest for financial sustainability they create social impact, economic development, and increase access to critical goods and services for underserved communities.

    [1] Ayyagari, M., Demirguc-Kunt, A. & Maksimovic, V. 2011. Small vs. Young Firms Across the World: Contribution to Employment, Job Creation, and Growth. Policy Research Working Paper WPS 5631. World Bank
    [2] Spending power in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Global Consumption Database: http://datatopics.worldbank.org/consumption/ Accessed November 2017.
    [3] Inclusive businesses are considered a subset of SGBs. Business Call to Action, United Nations Development Programme Kenya, KEPSA and SIB, New Horizons: Accelerating Sustainable Development through Inclusive Business in Kenya, 2017. As cited in ANDE, (December 2017):
    [4] Intermediaries are organizations that work with SGBs, funders, and/or TA providers but, for the purpose of this research, do not directly provide TA to SGBs. Intermediaries include organizations such as development finance institutions, private foundations, member networks, and research institutions.
  2. What Small and Growing Businesses Need to Scale Up: The Case for Effective Technical Assistance.

    Comments Off on What Small and Growing Businesses Need to Scale Up: The Case for Effective Technical Assistance.

    Small and growing businesses (SGBs) are one of the most promising avenues for sustainable development and positive change across the globe. Every $1 USD invested in SGBs generates $13 USD in the local economy – and SGBs have the potential to reach 4.5 billion new customers across 92 countries.[1] Yet SGBs continue to face difficult barriers to sustaining growth given the contexts in which they operate, hindering their ability to scale to new markets. Despite the growing ecosystem of external support, it is clear that more needs to be done to help SGBs scale.

    This report seeks to understand how SGBs can be better supported to scale. Our hope is twofold: that it will introduce some practical recommendations to test, and will initiate a wider dialogue for how SGBs can scale.

    Through a literature review and in-depth interviews with over 50 SGBs, funders and other organizations that support SGBs, we offer insights on some of the barriers that exist. We also offer recommendations that will hopefully inspire practitioners – SGBs, funders, technical assistance providers, and other intermediaries – to apply the report’s insights in a practical and meaningful manner.

    We invite you to read the report and contribute to this interesting and vital conversation.

    [1] ANDE (2016): “State of the Small and Growing Business Sector, 2016 Impact Report”.
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