Strengthening SMEs

A Guide to Business Management and Governance for Small and Medium Enterprises in East Africa

Most small and medium enterprise (SME) owners across the world consider business management and governance systems (or corporate governance) as an issue relevant only to large companies. In many African countries, the concept is still new and unfamiliar even to some big companies. African Agricultural Capital (AAC) and Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), though, see it as important to the development of SMEs in the East African region.

When we searched for existing SME-friendly resources on corporate governance, we discovered that the only available materials and training programmes were more appropriate for larger corporations and/or developed-world contexts. They did not meet the unique needs and challenges of SMEs in the African context. AAC and SNV then decided to create this guide specifically for SME owners, to promote best practices in business management and governance among them.

In this guide, we endorse management and governance systems as a key ingredient for a successful and stable business. We encourage SMEs to establish appropriate systems and to avoid the common ‘one-man show’ approach among them. We show them the relative ease of achieving such a positive development just by making a few changes in how they manage their businesses. To help them, we present best practices and benefits of proper management and governance systems, along with business case studies about their fellow SMEs that have successfully applied them.

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