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Comparison of SMEs in India and the UK

Info: 5450 words (22 pages) Dissertation
Published: 11th Dec 2019

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Tagged: BusinessSME

Chapter 1: Introduction:

Background of study:

Small businesses have been the soul of every economy in the world. India and UK have also been thriving on the performance of this sector. The performance of the sector is highly influenced by the government policies and the availability of finance.

Purpose of Study:

In this study, the author investigates the performance of the Small and Medium Enterprises in India and UK. The contribution of this sector to the society on the whole. This study focuses on the importance of the SME sector in both the countries from the point of view of its contributions to the economy. This study evaluates the importance of financing activities and the Government policies in order to support and nurture the growth of this very powerful sector.

Overall Aim and Objectives of Research:

The overall aim of this study is to evaluate the role of Government and financial institutions in the development of the small and medium enterprises in India (Developing country) and UK (Developed country.)


  1. Problems faced by the SME sector in India and UK.
  2. Role of Government policies in India and UK.
  3. Role of financial institutions in providing better financing options to the sector.

Background of SMEs:

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are one of the principal driving forces in economic development. This sector has been recognised as growth engine around the globe. A healthy and vibrant SME sector contributes in a high and sustainable economic growth. They encourage private ownership and entrepreneurial skills, they are flexible and can adapt quickly to changing market demand and supply situations. They provide employment opportunities to the masses, help diversify economic activity and make a significant contribution to exports thereby increasing foreign trade.

Small and medium enterprises have been defined in various ways in different countries. In India, it is known as the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which is defined in terms of investment required. The MSMEs include all the enterprises in which the total investment does not exceed more than Rs. 50 million. The European Commission defines SMEs on the basis of the work force employed, total turnover of the business and the balance sheet total. In the US, the criteria for recognition is based on the work force employed. The main factors which give a firm the status of SME are employment and investment in fixed assets.

Many economies have acknowledged the need for growth and development of SMEs for industrial restructuring and have formulated national SME policies, programmes and enterprise development policies. Enterprise helps boost productivity, increased competition and innovation, thereby creating employment and prosperity, and revitalizing the communities.

SMEs contribution to the foreign trade has been ever increasing. During the last decade, there has been a considerable increase in the foreign trade arising from the products of these SMEs. The open trade policy has been a great success. The policy makers in developing countries like India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and many other South Asian countries have been continuously reviewing their policies to help the functioning of these SME units.

Chapter 2: Research Methodology:

Research is defined as “an activity which is undertaken in order to find out things in a systematic way, thereby increasing knowledge” (Saunders, et al, 2003). As the definition says, it is important that the study is carried on in a systematic ways which means the study should be logical and should be carried by systematic interpretation of data. (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2002).

According to Saunders, et al, (2003) the research should highlight the following features:

  • Data used for study should to be collected systematically.
  • Data should be interpreted systematically.
  • The research should be carried out with the intension to draw a conclusion.

According to Williman (2001), research is not merely collection of facts or information without any purpose. The research should relate to collection of facts and information with a specific purpose. The reassembling or restructuring of facts and figures without any interpretation also is not termed as research. A proper research should be a mixture of facts and figures being interpreted and should provide an answer to the research question.

The data is of two types depending on the source from where it is obtained. Primary data is the data which is obtained by the researcher for some specific questions. It includes interview of the object of study. The answers are then observed closely to draw a conclusion. Secondary data is the data which is obtained from literature review and the internet.

The gathering and analysis of primary data adds value to the dependability of the results of the research, in my chosen topic of study there are not enough opportunities within the time and reach of the researcher to resort to research methods of interviews or survey through questionnaires, since the firms are widely scattered and the small and medium enterprises in India don’t disclose their secrets to anyone.

Hence, the data used is secondary data which is available through internet and through various government publications. There is a lot of literature on the selected topic; they can be treated as trusted source of data to carry on the research. The essential research principles while using the secondary sources are Qualitative and Quantitative approach to research, out of which this research paper uses the qualitative and descriptive approach to conclude the research question. Therefore the secondary research has been used for completing the study.

Limitation of Study:

I have tried my level best to produce this report to be as fruitful as it can be but there are some serious limitations that this study suffers.

There is a lack of study and not many scholarly articles are available on the problems faced by the Small and Medium Enterprises in India and UK. There are many articles which describe the importance of this sector. I had to take the use of various print media and internet sources of government portal in order to draft down the problems faced by them. Also, the grants and government policies that are provided are in exhaustive; hence the study focuses on only the main grants and policies which have contributed largely to the sector.

The small and medium enterprises sector is very huge and widely scattered, which comes as a constraint to collect primary data for the study.

Chapter 3: Literature Review

Role of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs):

SME have an important role in a country’s economic development and growth and also have been achieving the same kind of progress over the last couple of years. India as an example shows the importance of SME’s towards the growth of the economy and the employment generated with the help of labor intensiveness and thus, bringing efficient distribution of resources through labor intensive production. This segment also helps in lightening poverty and sustaining growth. Equal distribution of income also comes into picture thereof. And all this happens when the scarcity of capital exists. (Das, K. (2006))

Some of the characteristics of this typeof policy include formation of multi-storied and flatted industrial estates for micro industries, liberal floor spaces index in plotted development of 1.5 to 1.75 for industrial sheds and 2.5 for multi-storied industrial units, 50% rebate on stamp duty and registration charges for micro and small enterprises in industrial estates and industrially backward areas.

Globalization has made possible the fragmentationof all forms of production of goods and servicesacross countries and enterprises. Where large players go for a different form of business models which includes bringing alongtheir traditional partners, suppliers or distributors at a different level, SME’s are experiencing a new form of functioning in the value chain byevolving from a traditional manufacturer in the domestic market to that of an international partner. SME’s undergo the effects, both positive and negative, of outsourcing led restructuring of production at the international level. Because of the advantage of their flexible nature of operations, SME’s face lot many opportunities in the form of the demand for new products and services. But the things get a little nasty when theinadequate availability of managerial and financial resources, lack of working capital, innovation and personnel training come into picture. (Das, K. (2006)).

The Indian Small Scale Sector- An Overview:

A SSI in India is defined as a unit where investment in plant and machinery, either in the terms of ownership or lease, does not exceed Rs. 10 million. In the same way, micro enterprises or the so called tiny units does not have investment in them to be exceeding more than Rs. 2.5 million. The Small Scale Industries of India have a fortune of have been built through enterprise, dynamism and renewal. Since the end of the colonial rule, India has re-established itself and has transformed itself from 80,000 units to 3.3 million. The last decade of the 20th century showed steadiness. This sector of SSI’s alone contributes 7 % of GDP in India. (Sahu, P.P. (2005)).

Market liberalization and de-regulation are the two forces behind SME’schanging their business strategies for survival and growth. These changes have particularly been in the terms of acquiring quality certifications, creation of e-business modules, diversification to meet competition, etc. SME’s involvement in the foreign trade has to be supported by Globalization, Liberalization and WTO for the benefit of access to markets, technology, skills, finance infrastructure and tax-friendly environment. (Ecotec Research & Consulting (2004)).

Production and Investment in SMEs:

There has been an extraordinary 18% growth in the production at current prices of SME’sin FY07 as compared to the previous year’s15.8% thereby bringing a rise to India’s GDP to 15.5% during the year. The growth in the production has been there because ofconducive policy measures, growing domestic consumption, export market, improving production methods, technology, etc. SME’s did maintain equal growth rate in respect of the industrial sector during the FY03-07 with a growth of CAGR of 17%. (Sahu, P.P. (2005)).

The SME sector has also reported growth higher that the overall manufacturing sector. The sector does not only provide output in the form of final goods but also capital goods which further form the input to heavy industries. The table below is indicative of the growth of SME’s in the Indian economy.

The SMEs in India: Present Scenario:

As quoted by Business World, Jan. 2007, small companies seems to have been performed much better as compared to their larger equivalents as between 2001-06, net companies with net turnover of Rs. 1 Crore – 50 Crores had a higher growth rate of 701 per cent as compared to 169 per cent for large companies with turnover of over Rs. 1,000 Crore. (1 Crore Rupees is equal to 10 Million USD). The all time high of Rs. 1, 89,200 Crores of total SSI production reached in 1989-90 dramatically dropped in the next 10 years and increased later only 2001-02. After that, the production growth increased at a much greater pace in terms of units, production, employment and exports. (Ecotec Research & Consulting (2004)).

Currently, some of the SME’s, mostly ancillaries and export-oriented, are acquiring companies abroad as part of the Globalization process, catering to the needs of global manufacturers and suppliers like in Auto Industry. Some of these units have also invested in R&D globally and taking help of outsourcing, in the fields of manufacturing and services, to emerge as a global leader because of the factors such as labor-intensive manufacturing, lower transport costs, lenient labor policies of the small scale sector. The next step to this would be a government initiative providing a risk-free environment, start-up capital, technology and training updates. No matter the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Act, 2006, which has been passed by the Government with the help of 300 industrial associations, many government departments and lot many stake holders, is a legal framework for providing capital investment to this sector, but the implementation of it involves a lot many agencies to come together and achieve it jointly. (Government of India (2005)

The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Act, 2006:

The Government of India passed “The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act” in June 2006 after wide consultation with more than 300 industry associations, different government departments and multiple stake-holders across the country. The Act is geared towards promotion and enhancing the competitiveness of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. The Act tries to accomplish many long standing demands of multi stakeholders in the MSME sector. Another issue was the lending facilities to SME’s but as the mindset of the banks seems to change because of entry of large no. of private banks, which in turn led to increased competition and multiple financial options, the increased lending to the SMEs is actuated because of the compulsion from the market and the expansion of the companies. The lending to SMEs from the banks grew by 69% between 2000-01 and 2005-06. (Government of India (2005)).

The UK SME Sector:

The UK’s SME sector forms the business backbone no matter it may be the restaurant or the web designer, by providing over 33% of the GDP and over 50% of employment. There are 3.6 million SMEs but 99.5% employ less than 200 people. Every year around 175,000 businesses register themselves for VAT and most of them survive by the end of the first year but, then onwards mortality rate takes hold and by the end of the third year approximately one third have failed.

As per R3, the association of Business Recovery Professionals, as on one case, the worst places to start business would be Peterborough, Sunderland, Manchester, Bolton and Belfast with the highest failure rates, on the other hand, Llandrindod Wells, Truro, Southwest London, Guilford and Carlisle had the lowest failure rates. The failures occur because of the management failing to protect margins thus increasing its responsibility to 50%. Because of this Academy of Business Consultants believe that the founders of these businesses need the best assistance. (Sandesara, J.C. (1993)).

The Qualitative Challenge:

The World Bank’s `Doing Business 2007′ Report places UK in the ninth position out of 175 in the world for starting a business. But when it comes to enforcing contracts, employing workers, and dealing with licenses, then it is not a rosy picture, as they are ranked as 22nd, 17th and 46th respectively. This led for a need of change in the current status of SMEs. (Kondaiah, C. (2007)).

SME growth: the stylized facts:

The international data available also claims that smaller and younger businesses experience wider variations in growth as compared to their larger and mature counterparts. However, only a bunch of these smaller and younger businesses account for bulk of employment, output or sales and producing spectacular growth fighting through the competitors.

Keeping a sense of proportion:

Apart from all this, the factors like innovation and economic activity still forms to be a disadvantage for the SME’s side. In the European Union it has recently been estimated that the mean share in activity of the largest four enterprises across a large sample of industries and countries was 20% with a maximum of 87%. These ratios appear to have been rising rather than falling in recent decades. (Kondaiah, C. (2007)).

SMEs are generally backbone of the Industry. Napoleon said that British are a nation of shopkeepers. He was right much as Britain and a nation small and Medium sized enterprises.(Sandesara,J.C 1993)

In the UK the Large enterprise consist of 1% and the rest 99% is small enterprises. If we consider the total working population that is 30million out of that 14.3 million is employed by SMEs. The GDP growth of U.K is 7.4% which would be impossible without the growth of the SMEs as disclosed by BERR. U.K SMEs account for 1.8 trillion pound GDP despite being half the picture of the whole industry. The UK Public sector which contributes up to 1/3rd of the total UK economy attracts strong political focus. This makes the UK SME sector to be considered as fragmented and also at times ignored. But the SME sector is of vital importance as it provides to be the stepping stone for the other large enterprises to be. According to the BERR statistics for 2007, the Small and Medium Enterprises which employ more than 100 employees but fewer than 200, employs 4.4% of the total working population but contributes 5.6% of the total UK GDP. The small enterprises are outperformed by the medium enterprises in this context. Also, the enterprises that employ more than 50 employees but less than 100 also employ 4.4% of the workforce with an overall contribution of 5.7% to the total UK GDP.

There is a lot of evidence that proves that the UK economy thrives on the performance of the SMEs and that with an improvement in the performance of this sector will benefit the improvement of the UK economy on the whole. There is a need for the Government to work closely with the sector to develop the sector and also for rapid growth of the UK economy.

The SME’s, mostly ancillaries and export-oriented, are acquiring companies abroad as part of the Globalization process, catering to the needs of global manufacturers and suppliers like in Auto Industry. Some of these units have also invested in R&D globally and taking help of outsourcing, in the fields of manufacturing and services, to emerge as a global leader because of the factors such as labor-intensive manufacturing, lower transport costs, lenient labor policies of the small scale sector. The next step to this would be a government initiative providing a risk-free environment, start-up capital, technology and training updates. No matter the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Act, 2006, which has been passed by the Government with the help of 300 industrial associations, many government departments and lot many stake holders, is a legal framework for providing capital investment to this sector, but the implementation of it involves a lot many agencies to come together and achieve it jointly. (Government of India (2005)

Measuring innovation:

Any attempt to assess innovative activity and performance must begin with the definition of suitable metrics. These usually fall into the two categories of input and output measures. Inputs usually include expenditure on R&D, and measures of the staff employed in R&D. Output measures include patents and measures of the incidence of product, process and logistic innovations. Distinctions can also be drawn between innovation new to the firm, (which may be diffusing from a de novo innovation activity in another firm), and more novel innovation which is new to the firm and to the industry.

Each of these may lead to measures of innovation intensity in terms of innovation counts, as well as measures based on the distribution of sales by novelty of product or service innovation. Broadly speaking there are two approaches to obtaining data on innovation outputs. There is evidence to suggest that the object approach underestimates the innovative activity of smaller firms, in particular diffusion or incremental activity which the object approaches may overlook (OECD (1992)). The CBR has pioneered the subject approach in relation to UK data for SMEs and consequently its work directly complements UK Office for National Statistics data collected for CIS2, which has along with many EU countries limited coverage of the smallest firms (Cosh, Hughes ands Wood (1998)).The discussion in the rest of this paper draws on data based on the subject approach.

Innovation in the EU In reporting innovation activity in the EU this paper relies on the results of the second Community Innovation Survey (CIS2), of 1997/1998, from which charts 1 to 6 are drawn (Cosh and Hughes (2001)). Twelve European States took part in the survey (all EU Member States except Denmark, Greece, Italy and Portugal, plus Norway). The survey was intended to cover allenterprises in manufacturing with 20 or More employeesand all service enterprises with 10 or more employees. These can be split into three size bands small (10 to 49 employees), medium (50 to 249 employees) and larger (250 or more employees). This allows a comparison of innovation activity by broad sector and size over the three-year period 1995-7. The results of CIS2 reveal that innovation activity rises with enterprise size in the EU as a whole which also shows that the result holds for both Manufacturing and Services. In the specific sense that the proportion of enterprises reporting one or more product or process innovations rise with size classes it seems that bigger is better.

These results are at an aggregate EU level; it is instructive to disaggregate them by country, as well as size. To do this and to illustrate the relative innovative activity of the small firms in the UK the following charts 2-6 rank countries in terms of innovation performance of small firms, weaker countries are at the left and performance rises as we move to the right. Successive charts report on the proportion of product or process innovating enterprises in manufacturing, and the proportion of product innovators in manufacturing. The same measures are then shown for services, and then the final two charts report on the proportion of novel product innovators in manufacturing, and the proportion turnover due to new or improved products. Taken together these charts reveal that UK small firms are ranked in the top 4 in Europe in Manufacturing, and in the top 5 in Europe in Services. Moreover an inspection of the column pattern for medium and larger firms also reveals that UK small firms do better relatively than UK large firms and especially better than medium firms. In that comparative sense smaller is better.

Analysis of innovation constraints and the innovation/ performance link using CBR survey results In order to probe behind these results and in particular to examine patterns of innovation constraints and the innovation/performance link we can use the results of the regular CBR biennial survey of SMEs in the UK. These cover 2500 enterprises in Manufacturing and Business Services employing between 1 and 500 employees. The latest results are based on the 4th survey of 1999. The surveys generate subject-based data on innovation inputs and outputs and over 200 company specific variables on enterprise structure and performance. (A full discussion of the dataset and the results summarized here can be found in Cosh and Hughes (1998) and Cosh and Hughes (2000a)).

To conclude, we have substantial matter to prove that UK economy is supported by SME and that encouraging them and working with them will bring a positive effect on the UK economy.

Chapter 4: SMEs: An Overview

Contribution of SMEs:

SMEs are the backbone or the key drivers of the industrial economy. They can also be described as the engines of growth of the industrial sector. Although they are individually small, collectively they play a multiplayer role in the development of an economy. They have a multiplayer impact in developed as well as developing economies. The main USP of SMEs is low cost production i.e. the ability to manufacture low volumes profitably, meet niche requirements, capitalize on local skills and resources, provide outsourcing opportunities and most importantly create jobs.

The sector has been consolidating over the years. What is new is the articulation and recognition of this process and its pump priming role. Therefore national SME policies, programmes and enterprise development policies have been formulated to support smooth working of SMEs and to overcome major obstacles such as lack of legislation, promotion and infrastructure. This can be done in the form of promotion programmes, positive discrimination hand holding and advocacy. Policy initiatives seek to highlight basic SME skills in low cost production.

SMEs have an impressive presence in service industry ranging from the simple and traditional organisations to the most modern and hi-tech ones. SMEs contribute not only in terms of quantitative factors such as output, employment, income, investment or exports but also in terms of qualitative factors viz the synergies they promote with large industry, their contribution towards balanced regional growth, their contribution in nurturing entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and in providing a nationwide pool of skilled and trained manpower.

While the comparative advantage of SMEs are well acknowledged, SMEs also have their share of pros and cons which prevent them from realising their full potential. They have to face some problems such as lack of proper guidance in the initial stages, lack of funds in the times of crisis, lack of proper marketing strategies, stiff competition from big players, lack of access to latest technology, no proper infrastructure etc.

Therefore, although new SMEs are emerging very rapidly worldwide, the number of SMEs closing down every year is also very high. Also because of the twin forces of globalization and free trade policy of WTO, there is a serious threat to the SMEs sector. It will have to reorient and reinvent itself to overcome these challenges. This can be done by restructuring the small scale organisations, and if nothing works, they have to be closed down. Closures are undesirable but sometimes they are advisable from the resource allocation point of view. Thus the high rate of entries and exits reflect the dynamic nature of this sector and also explains why it is seen as an industrial incubator.

As mentioned earlier, SMEs play a very important role in the development of an economy, especially from the employment point of view. They are very effective for the generation of employment for both skilled as well as unskilled workers. Therefore labour extensive countries should opt for SMEs. Even the underdeveloped or developing countries which are capital intensive and labour extensive, SMEs can be a great help. There has been increasing growth of SMEs worldwide in the recent past. The government of the developed and developing economies have been formulating policies which promote smooth working of the SMEs. SMEs have contributed significantly in the developed as well as developing countries.

In the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland there are more than 16 million enterprises; of which less than 1% comprise large companies while the rest are SMEs. Two thirds of the job opportunities are provided by SMEs in this region and the remaining one third of the job opportunities are by large companies. SMEs are considered the backbone of Asia Pacific region as they account for 90% of enterprises. They provide around 32% – 48% of employment and their contribution to Gross Domestic Product is around 60% – 80% in individual Asia Pacific economies.

Even in the United States, SMEs contribute greatly. It contributed at around 43% of the net employment opportunities from 1990 – 1994.SMEs are considered the engine of economic growth in both developed and developing countries not only because of low cost production but also because of low unit cost of persons employed as compared to large scale enterprises. Thus they provide a significant share of overall employment. Also SMEs assist in local and regional development by regional dispersion of economic activities, thus helps achieving fair and equitable distribution of wealth. SMEs not only contribute towards the GDP but also towards the export revenues.

Although SMEs are at a disadvantage in terms of finance, technology, human resource development and networking; SMEs involved in foreign trade are very dynamic. This may be due to its low-cost labour intensive nature of its products; and since these units generally use indigenous raw-materials; they have a positive effect on the trade balance. For example, SMEs in OECD member states produce about 26% of OECD countries’ exports, and about 35% of Asian exports. Also SMEs increase flexibility in the provision of services and the manufacture of a variety of consumer goods and competitiveness of the market place and thereby curb monopoly of large enterprises. All this leads to fostering of self-help and entrepreneurial culture by bringing together skills and capital through various lending and skill enhancement schemes. Thus SMEs not only enables an economy to maintain a reasonable growth rate but also imparts resilience to withstand economic upheavals.

Chapter 5: India’s SME scenario:

The Indian Small and Medium enterprises sector formally known as the Small Scale Industries (SSI) has had a notable importance since the period of Mahatma Gandhi. SSIs were set up in the rural parts of India with a view to inculcate the habit of self reliance amongst the people. Later on, after independence, the SSI units were an important source of income to the people of India. Indian policy makers had noticed the importance of this self reliant industry and had always been striving hard for their progress.

After achieving independence in 1947, India drafted and adopted the Industrial Policy of 1948 which meant that the government would act as both an entrepreneur and also as a governing body. With the beginning of the planning of a free India in 1951, the role of SMEs has been earmarked specially.

In its industrial policy, the government started announcing special schemes for the growth of the SMEs in India. It was in 1956, during the Second Five Year Plan that the government announced the Second Industrial Policy, clearly stating the importance of the SME sector. This gave an impetus to the development of SMEs in a manner that made it possible for them to achieve the objectives of:

  • High contribution to domestic production.
  • Significant export earnings.
  • Low investment requirements.
  • Operational flexibility.
  • Low intensive imports.
  • Capacity to develop appropriate indigenous technology.
  • Import substitution.
  • Technology-oriented industries.
  • Competitiveness in domestic and export markets

Today, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the ladder of progress for a nation’s economy, especially in case of developing countries. They contribute handsomely to the exports, the industrial base, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Gross National Product (GNP) of the nation. Small and medium enterprises help provide employment and various facilities to the society.

In 2006, the Government of India passed an Act known as the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Act (MSMEDA), 2006 to define SME sector of India. This Act defines micro, small and medium enterprises in India on the basis type of sector namely manufacturing and the service sector. In case of manufacturing sector, the size of the enterprise is decided on the basis of investment in plant and machinery. In case of service sector enterprise, the size is decided on the basis of investment in equipment required to set up the industry.

Strategic Importance of Indian SMEs:

In Indian economy, the SMEs occupy a place of strategic importance due to its contribution to the overall output, exports and employment. The total number of SMEs has been increasing rapidly. The total number of registered enterprises has been around 3million and has been increasing at an even fas

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SME is an acronym for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. SMEs are businesses with a staff headcount and/or turnover below certain limits. In national economies, SMEs often employ many more people than large corporations.

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