Using ICT to Drive Growth in the SME Sector

The recently established Centre of Excellence for ICT-enabled innovations at Mona School of Business is engaging with the local SME community to use technology to solve business problems. This article identifies relevant, robust, cost-effective ICT solutions for small and medium-sized enterprizes in Jamaica.

SMEs are typically classified according to employee count, annual revenues, or both criteria.  Understandably, there is neither a universal definition (which often impedes global studies and comparisons) nor commonly accepted descriptions and acronyms although, within countries there is greater consensus on these matters. 
What is not disputed is that in most economies SMEs account for the majority of enterprises, contribute considerably to GDP, exports and employment, and produce a significant chunk of private sector output. They are expected to continue to play a pivotal role in driving economic growth, promoting creativity and innovation, improving the competitive positioning of nations, and contributing to employment growth. 

Nevertheless, in comparison to larger enterprises, SMEs face myriad challenges, associated with but not confined to the related problems of (1) obtaining credit and capital for business development and (2) developing the capability to access, assimilate, and adopt information and communication technologies (ICTs) to support their organizational objectives and enhance their competitive positioning. The second problem, treated from the perspective of the Caribbean region, is the focus of this article.

There is now worldwide recognition of the importance of the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector as a principal contributor to the economic well-being of most nations. SMEs are often both the product and the producers of entrepreneurial creativity and, in most countries, have become progressively important pillars of economic stability. Their actual and potential contributions to innovation, economic growth, employment, and the diversification of productive endeavours are well documented.


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