Keywords: small business performance, small and medium–sized enterprises, SMEs, critical challenges, business failure, Nigeria, SME performance, small firms, entrepreneurship, credit, costs, infrastructure, economic policies, corruption, taxes
Critical challenges limiting small business performance in Nigeria: an exploratory investigation
Although small businesses have been globally acknowledged for their roles in enhancing economic growth and sustainability in many countries; yet, their impact on Nigeria's economy remains minimal. This paper sought to investigate the critical challenges limiting small business operations in Nigeria; thereby, contributing to the growing body of knowledge relating to factors influencing small business failure, particularly from the Nigerian perspective, one that has not received much attention in the literature. The study adopts an exploratory approach, via in–depth semi–structured interviews, to reveal that five critical challenges hamper the operations of small businesses in Nigeria, namely: limited access to credit, high cost of doing business, inadequate infrastructure, inconsistent economic policies, and corruption and multiple taxes. There is germane need for an effective SME–stakeholder engagement (policy makers, central bank, financial institutions, investors and SME associations) via a National SME Summit, to spearhead the development of a coherent master–plan for the sector.