A vibrant stratum of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is critical for the growth and development of Asian economies. These enterprises generate employment, contribute to investment, participate in value chains, and support innovation. SMEs that seek to sustain and grow their operations, however, face a variety of constraints, many of which are directly related to size. These so-called “size-induced market failures” create a role for public policy interventions by governments throughout the region.
This book focuses on the market failures encountered by enterprises in the key areas of technology and innovation, credit and finance, education and skills, and market access. Obstacles to participation in the rapidly expanding regional and global value chains are also examined. Among a variety of issues, the book explores the “missing middle” in credit facilities for enterprises that are beyond microcredit but not yet able to secure regular loans from banks. The book investigates the barriers to innovation and how best to combine internal and external research and development. It also looks at the hiring versus training options to build human capital. The various chapter authors examine national and multicountry experiences in South and East Asia, ranging from those in Pakistan to Japan.