Against the backdrop of last week’s jobs summit, it’s worth considering the potential for job creation and economic growth that lies in the country’s SME sector. According to Hischam El-Agamy, executive director of global business school IMD, SMEs "are the foundation for creating jobs. Tapping into SMEs needs to be exploited and pushed." The key to making a dent in the unemployment rate, which is nearing 30%, is to help SMEs access funding, says El-Agamy. The 80-page jobs summit framework paints a bleak picture of the sector. More than 50% of all start-ups and small businesses fail in the first 24 months because of inexperience and a lack of access to funding. Financial literacy gaps have also emerged as a hurdle. Jennifer Cohen, director of research & advocacy at the Small Business Institute (SBI), says the government needs to have interventions that support SMEs, from the registration process through to growing their businesses. However, says Cohen, "a cursory glance at the summit...

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