Inderscience Publishers

Developments of SMEs in Singapore's services and wholesale and retail sectors: issues and prospects

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This paper analyses the performance of small and medium firms (SMEs) in the services, and wholesale and retail sectors in Singapore, and examines the various government policies which aim to promote SMEs. This paper concludes that the number of SMEs (firms with less than 100 workers) has increased steadily since 1990, but their economic contribution has not been commensurate with the number of establishments. For instance, in the services sector, although SMEs accounted for 99.4% of the number of establishments in 2006, they only accounted for 61% of total employment and 53% of total value-added in the manufacturing sector in that year. This paper examines two categories of SMEs: tiny firms employing less than 10 workers and SMEs which employ 10–99 workers. It shows that, while the number of entrepreneurs in Singapore would increase, whether SMEs can evolve into a dominant economic force in relation to MNCs and government-linked companies remains to be seen.

Keywords: small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, service industry, wholesale sector, retail industry, services, retailing, entrepreneurship, Singapore, government policies, economy, economic contribution, employment, manufacturing industry, tiny firms, entrepreneurs, state-owned companies, multinational corporations, MNCs, company performance, value-added, business, globalisation, Asia-Pacific, multi-disciplinary perspectives

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