This research explores reasons pertaining to the backwardness of Small and Medium Enterprises in developing nations like Cameroon by taking African Information and telecommunication as a case company. The country is situated in central Africa. The mainstay of the nation is Agriculture and therefore, it is predominantly known as the agrarian economy. The following research will help the upcoming companies about the political system and other understanding in regards with the Cameroon. Most of the SME’s in these nations remain small due to various challenges and obstacles. The main purpose of this research is to identify different factors that hinder the growth and success of SME’s. In addition to this, the research will also investigate the future of SME’s in general.
A well defined research methodology is used to collect data for the research purpose. For the purpose of evaluating the data in qualitative and quantitative manner, the data is accumulated by using both primary and secondary research methods. This research approach is extremely helpful in identifying the factors that lead Afritec limited and impact on other SME’s to remain small, irrespective of having many growth prospects and opportunities. The findings of the research confirm the previous researches and contribute additional evidence that suggests that the presence of large number of small and medium enterprises is a great sign of flourishment of a particular economy. The major obstacles for the development of these firms are mainly in adequate availability of finance, corruption, taxation system and managerial problems.
Based on the study it can be concluded that SME’s are well thought-out as the first resort of employment to millions of people in the nation. In Cameroon, SME’s play a significant role in sustaining the economic growth, generating employment, increasing trade and creating new private enterprise.
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The main purpose behind this work is to investigate various factors that lead Afritec limited to remain small, although it has many growth prospects. The research question of this study is “Why do Small and Medium Enterprises remain small in Cameroon”. The subsequent research is being undertaken to gain an understanding in relation with the SME’s in Cameroon. The research will also make an investigation to indentify various challenges and constraints faced by SMEs in the proposed country (Chibba, 2011). Cameroon is located at central part of Africa. The mainstay of the nation is agriculture and therefore, it is predominantly known as the agrarian economy. The following research will help the upcoming companies to have better understanding about environment and political system of Cameroon so that they can sustain their business in the country. Many factors are responsible for SMEs in Cameroon to remain small and thus, here in this report an investigation is being made to identify these important factors (Bhaird, 2010).
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have significantly played an important role in the economic development of various countries all over the world. Over a period of time, it is being proved that SMEs are innovative and dynamic (Ngehnevu and Nembo, 2010). They are also the first resort in providing employment opportunities to millions of people in the country. Small and Medium enterprises are breeding ground for entrepreneurship (Burgess, 2002). The SME sector has gained importance all across the world owing to its considerable contribution in achieving various socio-economic objectives. These objectives are generating employment opportunities, contributing in national output and exports, fostering new entrepreneurship and finally it helps in providing an industrial foundation of the economy in depth (Hillary, 2000).
These enterprises are being considered as the backbone of all economies. They are the main source of flexibility, dynamism and economic growth in advanced industrialized countries. Small businesses are particularly important for development of economy as they bring innovations in products and techniques in the market (Chibba, 2011). There are many common characteristics of SMEs, which helps in making distinction between large giants operating in the same market. Generally, these small enterprises are born out of one or two entrepreneurs. They set their business primarily as a means to earn their livelihood. These encompass many retails establishments and manufacturing services (Bhaird, 2010). The cost of production in this sector is also very low. SMEs enjoys high propensity to adopt technology. They are the prime drivers of jobs and provide employment opportunities to millions of people all over the world. Articulated from this fact this industry is therefore being known as labor intensive industry. Cameroon is a developing country and thus the situation is worse. If SMEs are maintained significantly than, economic situation of the nation as well as economy can be improved (Chibba, 2011).
This research focuses on SMEs in Cameroon. There are many factors which hinder the growth of SME’s and remain them small in spite of having many growth opportunities (Smorfitt, 2012). The main company selected for this research is African information and telecommunication company limited (Afritec ltd). It is a private firm, which deals with maintenance and sales of computer system. Under this research study various challenges and constraints being faced by SMEs would be explored. SMEs play a very important role almost in each and every country (Ngehnevu and Nembo, 2010). They are key source of economic development and innovation as they involve lower level of investment and cost of production. SMEs comprise the largest number of enterprises existing all around the globe. Almost 90% of businesses worldwide consist of SMEs (Bhaird, 2010). There are many forms of corruption that prevails within SMEs such as bribery, undue advantage of public officers, misappropriation of funds and extortion. All these corrupt practices are imposing negative impact on the development of small and medium sized firms (Small Business Development and Corruption, 2006). With reference to the above fact this report will find out various ways of handling corrupt practices and import export problems being faced by SMEs. Further, it will explore all in-depth aspects in regards with the small and medium enterprise so as to have better understanding of operating business (Smorfitt, 2012).
The research background selected in this dissertation writing and various reasons that lead them to remain small in Cameroon (Smorfitt, 2012). The study is being undertaken in African information and Telecommunication Company. Having numerous growth prospects and opportunities, this company is still small. This state of the firm is the result of various factors and problems. Some of them are the tax system of the nation, import and export policies and problems, corrupt practices, problem in accessing finance etc (Direng, 2010). All these challenges and problems hold back the success and growth of the company (Ngehnevu and Nembo, 2010). SMEs are being considered as a seed-bed for indigenous entrepreneurship. They further provide a supporting hand in creation of wealth for all the citizens. Small and Medium enterprises promote indigenous technical know-how. With this sector, local development is made possible as they mainly use local resources (Ngehnevu and Nembo, 2010). SMEs in their operations solve various problems being faced by the nation and thus complement the efforts of the government (Direng, 2010). Today, it is worthy of note that many large giants and big businesses has started their operations as small business and now they are working tremendously on international and local platforms. Some of these companies are Kingdom bookshop, Darko farms, UT bank etc (Bhaird, 2010).
The research question provides a right direction for the successful accomplishment of the subject taken under consideration in a report. Through research question, researcher will be in a position to complete the report in an efficient way (Smorfitt, 2012). The aims and objectives of the research, generally being known as the structure of the research study, can be formed by taking help of research question. With the help of research question, more detailed analysis of the project is made possible. “Why SMEs are small in Cameroon in spite of having many growth prospects?” will be the research question in this research report. Here in this perspective, the questionnaire for this report highlights the factors responsible for Afritec limited for being small even though it has many growth opportunities in coming future (Ngehnevu and Nembo, 2010).
The main aim of this study is to critically evaluate and identify various factors responsible for African information and Telecommunication Company to remain small, even though having many growth prospects and opportunities (Link and Siegel, 2007). The research would also be going to present a brief introduction about the business environment in Cameroon as well as various challenges and constraints being faced by SMEs in that particular nation. From the last decade, business in relation with information technology in Cameroon has grown substantially. With this advancement and growth, competition from varied industry stakeholders has increased. Afritec Limited Company previously existed in a less crowded industry is now struggling to survive in a very competitive milieu (Cohen, 2012).
Further, in Cameroon accessing finance for small and medium sector is very difficult and challenging job. Keeping this intellect, this research study will also investigate various reasons pertaining to this problem (Ngehnevu and Nembo, 2010). Many corrupt practices also prevail in the nation, due to which it becomes challenging for SMEs to survive and sustain a competitive position in the market. For small and medium companies, the taxing system of Cameroon is still remains a major source of concern. For those firms who are trading in choice quality products, cheap and sub-standard products are imposing great threats. Further, the Trade exhibition is also very timid, which reduces the visibility for small and medium companies (Cameroon investment Guide, n.d). In Association with this aim, some of the objectives of this research work are stated below:
In this research study, researcher will be using both quantitative and qualitative methods in order to collect information. For collecting the quantitative data, filling of questionnaire and oral interview methods is being used by the researcher (Bryman and Bell, 2007). On the other hand, qualitative data will be gathered by assessing various past evidences and data. Number of books, journals and articles would also be explored by the researcher in literature review part of the research (Bryman and Bell, 2007). The main objective behind the use of oral interview method in this research study is to collect some information and response of the respondents in regards with the African information and Telecommunication Company. The oral interview is being conducted among the employees and managers of Afritec limited so as to have a clear a picture about the topic (Cohen, 2012).
Any research work undertaken by the researcher is based on its significance in this contemporary business environment (source?). The topic under this research also has high degree of importance in the field of SMEs Sector. In this current economic situation, Small and Medium enterprises are gaining huge attention (Nolan, 2010). This sector is substantially contributing to the economic growth of the nation as well as generating huge employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workforce. Small enterprise can be defined as business unit, which is small and generally informal in nature. Further, it does not exceed 10 employees at particular point of time and it can be commenced with low amount of investment, according to National Board of Small scale industries. They generally focus on local development as they utilize local available resources (Griffin, et. al., 2011).
SMEs are commonly characterized by features such as established business in comparison with the micro enterprises, formal and registered, a complex management structure. According to OECD, SME’s cannot employ more than 100 workers (Acharya, n.d). As they fall into the organized category of business, these enterprises are gaining wide importance. In addition to this, SMEs are also significantly contributing in the development of economy of the nation (Zisuh, 2007). Those entrepreneurs who have requisite set of skills, have significant experience in the industry and belong to the corporate world are more likely to set up small businesses. They make their efforts in trying to bring some more organized way of processes which has its own advantages and benefits (African Development Bank, 2010). On the other hand, when talking in volume about the medium enterprises, than they are just the advanced version of small enterprises. They comprise employee with a range of 100 to 250 (Source?). The path of Small and Medium Enterprises is not easy in comparison with the large and big business house. They need to face cut through and stiff competition in the market for the purpose of reaching their potential customers. Small and Medium Enterprises operates their functions with various challenges and constraints, which in turn pose a great influence on their existence and at the same time affects their market economies as well (Yoshino, 2010).
With references to the above facts, this research will also investigate various factors that influence the sustenance of African information and Telecommunication Company. A major emphasis is being given to evaluate that why small and medium enterprises like Afritec limited remain small, despite the presence of large opportunities and growth prospects. The result of this research will also provide assistance to African information and Telecommunication Company as well as many other SMEs to adopt right and effective approaches for operating their business in the nations like Cameroon (Dyson, 1990).
Each and every research undertaken by the researcher follows systematic and chronological steps. It is also being considered as a structured piece of work. Every little aspect in the research work is inter-related with each other and therefore, all the steps are properly composed in the form series of chapters (Bryman and Bell, 2007). The present research report is also arranged in chronological chapter. Briefing of chapter included in this research is explained below:
Chapter 1: Introduction – This section is the first part of the dissertation. It presents an apparent idea about the subject of the research and its background in a comprehensive way. Each and every research is carried out for accomplishment of certain pre-determined aims and objectives. These aims provide a rationale for the selection of the topic or subject. Relevant objectives in specific headings for carrying out the research are also defined by this chapter. In addition to this, it gives a concise discussion on type of research method adopted in the project. The introduction part presents a pithy introduction about the research methodology that is being undertaken in the succeeding sections (Bryman and Bell, 2007). Here, in this research report, the introduction chapter gives a brief prologue in regards with the Small and medium enterprises (SME’s). Further, it also entails overview of Cameroon and so as to have better understanding about its environment and political system.
Chapter 2: Literature Review – Literature review comprises the second part of the dissertation. This chapter is being developed in the form of a literature review. This section plays an important role in comparison with all the other sections in the research study (Cohen, 2012). Detailed and more extensive information about the topic and its related aspects is being provided section. Books, journals and scholarly articles are assessed in relation with the issues and title of the study. The literature review chapter in this report focuses on the various factors responsible that leads African information and Telecommunication Company to remain small, in spite of having many growth prospects and opportunities (Dyson, 1990). It also presents a brief introduction about Small and Medium Enterprises in Cameroon. Under this section, articles from various renowned authors will also be reviewed so as to gain detail understanding about the political system and business environment of Cameroon and their impact on functioning of SMEs along with Afritec limited.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology – This section is the third part of the dissertation. Research methodology section provides detailed information in relation with the methodologies adopted in the research study. All the methods adopted by the researcher are being used for the purpose of collecting and analyzing the data (Research methodology: an introduction, n.d). With the help of research philosophy and approaches, justification of the research method selected in the study is also being explained. Along with this, many other aspects like ethical considerations, limitation of the study, validity and reliability are also being defined under this head. All these subjects need to be covered in research methodology section so as to maintain the exactitude of the research (Bryman and Bell, 2007).
Chapter 4: Findings – This is the fourth part of the research and it develops the findings of the research study. Findings of the study can be inferred from the primary data collected and by applying proper research methodology (Research methodology: an introduction, n.d). The outcomes of the study are generally dependent on the nature of data collected. Here, in this research report all the findings are being presented in qualitative and quantitative form. This is because the data is collected by using questionnaire and oral interview method. The respondents comprise of various managers and employees of African information and Telecommunication Company (McGrath and et. al., 2005). They are being selected, as they will better provide information about the internal policies and procedures of the company. They are well acquainted with the system of the company and have understanding in the regards with the environment of Afritec limited, thus enrich the sustenance of the research. In order to present the result of gathered data and to gain the insight of the outcome, thematic analysis is also done in this research study (McPherson, 1996).
Chapter 5: Discussion and Analysis – All the outcomes engendered from the primary data collection method is analyzed and discussed in this chapter of the research study (Mead and Liedholm, 1998). This is done with a view to render support to the facts discovered from the finding part of the data (Data analysis, n.d). Various concepts and aspects are also included in the literature review part of the research, for sustaining the result of the study in most reliable manner.
Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendations – This part is the final section of the dissertation. The results accrued from the findings are presented in line with the pre-determined objectives of the research (Hillary, 2000). In addition to this, various limitations in respect with the research study are also included in this chapter. In order to have future research work in this regards, many recommendations are also suggested. This will enhance the understanding of African information and Telecommunication Company in relation with proper functioning and will help them to achieve the path of success and growth (Jones and Tilley, 2003).
With pressing problem of poverty, unemployment and unequal distribution of wealth, SMEs are gradually becoming the backbone of the economy. SMEs are getting this dispensation as they are creating good opportunities for the class of people who belonged to the underprivileged group till now (Macharia, 1997). Over a period of time, it is being proved that SME’s are innovative and dynamic. They are also the first resort in providing employment opportunities to millions of people in the country. SMEs are breeding ground for entrepreneurship (Dyson, 1990). Taking this view and aspects in consideration, many factors are being evaluated in this research report, which will specify various reasons for the backwardness of SMEs in Cameroon. Cameroon is located at central part of Africa. The mainstay of the nation is Agriculture and therefore, it is predominantly known as the agrarian economy (Amin, 2008). The following research will help the upcoming companies to have better understanding about environment and political system of Cameroon so that they can sustain their business there. Further, this dissertation will help the readers to understand why small and medium firms in Cameroon remain small, even though they have many growth prospects and opportunities (Hillary, 2000).
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