WEF: Sage CEO Laments Absence of Small Business Issues

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By Dipo Olowookere

Chief executive of Sage, Mr Stephen Kelly, has lamented that small businesses are still being ignored by policy makers as big business flocks to Davos.

Global research by Sage highlights that only 33 percent of small businesses feel represented by politicians in their country’s decision making.

The data has been published in the run up to the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) where politicians and big business will gather in Davos to debate the global economic picture.

Mr Kelly expressed his frustration at the absence of small business issues from the agenda, and called for greater representation, given that in most economies entrepreneurs, or business builders, creates 2/3 of all jobs.

The research measured sentiment of small businesses in 2016, showing that:

    The majority (58%) consider the wider global economy to be less stable and (69%) either have or are considering changing their business plan as a result of recent events.

    22 percent of businesses are planning to export more in 2017, 10% less and 25% felt there would be no change.

    31 percent of businesses think turnover will remain constant or remain the same over the next year.

    The Forum brings entrepreneurs from around the world insights, events and policy-forming partnerships

He said clearly the role of government in helping navigate uncertain economic and political times will be key.

He noted that in order to give business builders a platform to connect with policy makers, Sage is launching its ‘Forum for Business Builders’.

The Forum brings entrepreneurs from around the world insights, events and policy-forming partnerships to give them a powerful collective voice that can be heard on the world stage.

Anton van Heerden, Managing Director and Executive Vice-President, Africa & Middle East at Sage, adds: “We’re seeing an uptake of entrepreneurial drive throughout the African continent, with many people starting out on their own to build businesses that serve the community, create jobs, and raise income levels. Sometimes, this demands great financial and personal sacrifice on their part.”

Sage CEO Stephen Kelly, said: “Only too often when the world’s policy makers discuss the global economic picture, small businesses are excluded from the discussion. This is most evident with the annual World Economic Forum in Davos where small businesses aren’t an item on the agenda. Worse still, 60% don’t even know the event is taking place. It’s crazy when you consider that small businesses create two thirds of all the jobs in most economies, and represent over 98% of all businesses.”

Mr Kelly continues: “Business builders are the heroes of the economy. They toil away long after the rest of us have gone home, making personal sacrifices to grow their businesses, to support their families and build their communities. Policy makers and big business must wake up to the fact that these heroes need to be supported and given a voice, if we are to ensure the future health and prosperity of the world’s economy.”

Concludes van Heerden: “We are the champion of small businesses. They are fuelled by a passion for improving their lives and helping their communities. It is encouraging to see African governments recognising just how central they are to the continent’s growth story.”

The Forum is open to all small businesses and will be refreshed regularly with diverse content and insights from guest contributors and advisors.

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