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A Review of Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the ICT Sector

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The issue of why Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) matter has been an element of national, regional and global debate for several decades. Tech MSMEs have brought a new dimension to the discussion, with ‘startups’ gaining popularity in mainstream discourse. Fuelled by fairy-tale stories of companies achieving billion-dollar valuations in the period of a few years, the startup craze has swept the world inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurship. With governments seeking to enable economic growth, the ICT sector looking to acquire the next disruptive technology and investors in search of big exits, high-growth potential tech startups and MSMEs have never been more in demand, nor more elusive. This paper seeks to understand these firms, their position within the broader MSME category, and the economic/political/social climate in which they grow. It further highlights the principals by which this entrepreneurial spirit may be harnessed for sustainable development.

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Foreword

The role of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in supporting economic growth and job creation is well established. Recently, tech MSMEs and startups have been thrust into focus, with governments seeking to enable domestic tech ecosystems and encourage home-grown digital products and services, including online marketplaces which make it easier for companies to transact with customers locally and abroad. ICT services have enabled the broader MSME population in general, but have also created unique opportunities for new entrants to introduce products and services which are transforming traditional industries.

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