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The SME and Information Technology

A Practical Study of SMEs at the IT Frontier

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This study identifies critical factors preventing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries from making optimal use of Information Technology (IT). It provides recommendations for SME support institutions as a basis for designing technical assistance services for the business sector. The publication also presents case studies illustrating active participation of trade support institutions in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

English Spanish, French

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The advantages of, and constraints to, IT investment

A salient feature of the relationship between IT and the SME sector is the web of beliefs and perceptions that has developed around the use of IT tools in business. This has the dual effect of heightening the allure of IT as a symbol of success, while associating it with risk and the obscure and thus deterring investment. This web becomes more transparent as the use of IT increases and the more advanced users gain an increasingly realistic view of the advantages and constraints of harnessing IT tools. Yet, perceptions of IT, whether accurate or not, are the major determinants of investment decisions by SMEs. A role therefore arises for trade support institutions to pierce the myth surrounding investment in the IT sector and to provide SMEs with as transparent a view of the sector as possible.

English French, Spanish

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