Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are estimated to account for more than 90 percent of businesses in the world. SMEs employ around 60 percent of employees in private sectors and add around 50 percent of the world GDP. The benefits of SMEs cannot be overstated–small businesses make big changes.
Mahindra Rise is an example of a company that has far outgrown the small business classification, but it is an inspiring story for up and coming enterprises. Mahindra Rise began in 1945 in India as a steel company but has had the success and adaptability to extend beyond steel production. This company now works in 20 industries over 100 countries and is best known for its vehicle production.
At the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya, former President Barack Obama said, “Entrepreneurship creates new jobs and new businesses, new ways to deliver basic services, new ways of seeing the world—it’s the spark of prosperity.” President Obama is describing how small businesses make big changes. Here are a few examples of that small business strength.
A mobile app based out of Ghana, co-founded by Emmanuel Owusu Addai and Alloysius Attah, Farmerline helps small farm-holders across Africa. A small-scale farm is dependent on market prices, weather and farming techniques, all of which can change quickly. This app, launched in 2013, has helped over 200,000 farmers across four countries increase their harvest by sharing information through the app.
Afghan Citadel Software (ACS)
Roya Mahboob helped co-found ACS at the age of 23 in 2010, helping to create a business aimed at creating opportunities for women to be incorporated into Afghanistan’s growing technical culture. Some of what ACS does is build internet classrooms, register users for online education and produce videos by young Afghan women.
Co-founded by husband and wife duo Nichole and Ricardo Thompson in Jamaica, Niritech aims to help students in the Caribbean grow in the subject of digital literacy. Through an online platform, students are connected to instructors and have better access to education in order to become more competitive in the job industry.
Vijay Gnanadeikan created the FaceTagr app to use face recognition to help find and identify missing people. The Chennai IT developer came up with the idea because of the huge amount of children that go missing in India; estimates are that about five children per hour disappear. Right now, the app is being tested by the police and government and, so far, FaceTagr has helped to locate 100 children in India.
Emerging companies understand their local contexts and create niches in order to compete with large multinational corporations. Local companies use their knowledge and understanding to work around institutional voids and an inability for market research. Companies that treat voids as opportunities create profitable enterprises. These small businesses make big changes in their world by not being afraid to compete and discovering the local needs.
– Natasha Komen