Survival, growth and age of SMEs
This chapter aims to contribute to a discussion of the role of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in regional economic development and to identify some of the policy issues that need to be considered if this contribution is to be maximised. Any assessment of the role of SMEs in economic development must consider their ability to survive and grow and, in particular, their ability to create employment. It also needs to include the extent to which they are able to contribute to the development of competitive regional economies. In both cases, it is necessary to take a long-term view which recognises that the needs, problems and economic impacts of SMEs may change as firms which survive the critical early years evolve into more established concerns. Such a view is taken in this chapter through an examination of the evolution of a panel of manufacturing SMEs over a 10-year period.