The Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Smea) has called for enhanced research and development services, especially among small businesses. Smea says research and development is almost non-existent in small businesses in the country.
“Research and development investment in Malawi is very negligible, save for big companies that might have their own research and development set ups, the small scale sector in Malawi virtually has no such services,” said Smea president James Chiutsi.
He said lack of the service results in SMEs failing to be innovative.
“Without availability of resea r ch and development services, SMEs literally have no chance to innovate and introduce new products, leaving the country to the same old practices of selling raw hides, soya, ground nuts, legumes, gemstones and other agricultural products to other countries with better facilities who sell them back to us at higher prices after polishing and packaging them well.
“In developing countries, a few large corporations can only afford to employ a small fraction of the working population, hence the need for the government to ensure that the SME sector is vibrant and competitive,” he said.
Chiutsi said, as a country, we need to develop a serious working and innovative culture. He said our big corporations in Malawi can do far much better than they are doing now.
He further called upon the government, training institutions, financial institutions, and big corporations to fully partner with SMEs as they aim to develop themselves, their communities and the nation.