Business support services for small and medium enterprises in low‐ and middle‐income countries

Added June 29, 2020

Citation: Piza C, Cravo TA, Taylor L, et al. The Impact of Business Support Services for Small and Medium Enterprises on Firm Performance in Low‐ and Middle‐Income Countries: A Systematic Review. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2016;12(1):1-167.

What is this? During the COVID-19 pandemic, small to medium size businesses have been badly affected by closures mandated by the pandemic response, leading to the loss of highly skilled personnel, bankruptcy and closures. Existing research on the effects of one-time grants or loans on small to medium businesses might provide useful information for policy makers.

In this Campbell systematic review, the authors searched for studies of business support services for small to medium businesses (defined as 2 to 250 employees). They restricted their searches to articles published in English, Portuguese and Spanish and did the search in July 2014. They included 40 studies.

What was found: On average, business support to small to medium size businesses in low- and middle-income countries seemed to improve their performance, their ability to create jobs, their labour productivity and their ability to invest.

Matching grants, technical assistance and tax simplification programmes improved business’ performance and job creation; with technical assistance also likely to improve labour productivity.

Export promotion and innovation programmes positively affect exports and innovation but there was no evidence that these programmes improve performance or job creation.


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