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Interview: the SME consultant

Interview: the SME consultant

Michael Hasbani of Ernst & Young tells Atique Naqvi how things are changing for SMEs and entrepreneurs in the region, and why there’s a shortage of cash – but not inspiration.

November 17, 2010 11:05 by

What do you think are the main challenges faced by entrepreneurs?
Today capital is scarce. With investors and lenders seemingly less willing to provide funds, those who require cash are seeking other options. Where cash is available, there is significant competition, perhaps even a battle for capital.

Customers and their dollars are scarce. They have either cut back on spending or re-aligned their businesses toward core competencies and deriving more efficiency. They are not expanding and growing at the furious pace they were only a couple of years ago. This leads to intense pressure to keep existing customers and to attract new ones. Entrepreneurs have to offer an increased level of customization with an increased customer-centric approach in all of their activities.
Increased risk and risk-taking is a fact of life for an entrepreneur. For example, failing to understand and protect his intellectual property and legal rights could have disastrous consequences. In addition, ineffective IT security and vague disaster recovery plans can wipe out a firm in case the worst should happen.

Other region-specific challenges include unclear property rights, the need for more support for women entrepreneurs, weaker business networks, smaller launch teams, and a limited availability of subcontracting services.

Trends magazine.

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