M3’s AMP-Up Initiative, as an additional component will continue to analyze data in the external environment with the aim of providing further continuous updates to our clients. This can be in the form of seminars, white papers or core data services which provide our stakeholders with a better lens of information for decision-making in an age of complexity. M3’s overarching goal is to narrow local disparity with regards to access to the knowledge, skills and competencies that are mostly unavailable to SMEs.
Our strategy is simple, support upward movement of the most vulnerable but resilient sector of the economy, I.e., small businesses. Monitoring small business indicators enables us to evaluate and roll out interventions that work and roll back those that don’t while providing robust thought leadership to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
ENHANCING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ECOSYSTEM IS VITAL
Figure 3: Global Risks SME by Percent
Cyber incidents, such as cybercrime, IT outages, data breaches, were the leading risk for small businesses globally for 2022. Almost 40 percent of respondents cited this as their biggest concern, followed by 32 percent who saw business interruption, such as supply chain disruptions, as a leading risk for small companies (Statista 2021)
GLOBAL RISK SME'S BY PERCENT
Figure 2: Technology Challenges Worldwide in 2021 by Business Size
In 2021, 28 percent of enterprises and 20 percent of tech-focused small and mid-size businesses indicated that keeping up with threats to data security is their leading technology challenge. Other technology challenges include ensuring that employees are trained sufficiently on how to use technology services and managing remote work situations (Statista 2021).
ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY
Figure 1: US Small Business Owners Assessment of their biggest Challenge 2020*
*Based on November 6 to 13, 2020; 600 respondents; small business owners
THE TOP CHALLENGES
Recent survey data suggest (Fig 1) what the most important challenges in the United States were for small business in 2020. About 29 percent of the respondents stated that their most important challenge was the impact from the coronavirus (Statista 2021).
SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS TOP CHALLENGES
According to the 2021 Congressional Research Service Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation report, Congressional Research Service R40985, “when determining how to best help small businesses access capital, Congress has recognized that the small business lending environment has two key features: the willingness of lenders to offer loans (the supply) and the willingness of small businesses to seek loans (the demand). Senior loan officers reported that they generally tightened their small business loan credit standards from 2008 through late 2009, generally eased their loan credit standards, with some relatively brief periods of tightening, from 2010 through 2019, and tightened their loan credit standards in 2020 and early 2021, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s widespread adverse economic impact on the national economy. Since then, senior loan officers have reported that they had eased their loan credit standards somewhat.
ACCESS TO CAPITAL
This has been the focus of concerted efforts in recent years and while it appears that this demand is being met more fully, greater access to networks of peers remain key forms of valued support to small businesses.
BUILDING LEADERSHIP CAPACITY THROUGH LOCAL SUPPORT
Small businesses leaders consistently indicate the importance of infrastructure – space to grow – as critical to their business, alongside good broadband. Connectivity between different players in the small business’s ecosystem is vital for growth as is access to facilities and expertise for R&D at large corporates and universities. Hubs at which small businesses can work, meet, and collaborate is seen as vital to a thriving small businesses ecosystem.