SMEs being ignored in Davos, according to Sage chief

As business leaders and politicians gather at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos to debate the global economic picture, Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Sage, has highlighted the absence of small business issues from the agenda.

Kelly has called for greater representation of SMEs given that, in most economies, entrepreneurs, or business builders, creates two out of three of all jobs. “Too often when the world’s policy makers discuss the global economic picture, small businesses are excluded from the discussion,” he said.

“This is most evident with the annual World Economic Forum in Davos where small businesses aren’t an item on the agenda. Worse still, 60% don’t even know the event is taking place. It’s crazy when you consider that small businesses create two thirds of all the jobs in most economies, and represent over 98% of all businesses.

“Business builders are the heroes of the economy. They toil away long after the rest of us have gone home, making personal sacrifices to grow their businesses, to support their families and build their communities. Policy makers and big business must wake up to the fact that these heroes need to be supported and given a voice, if we are to ensure the future health and prosperity of the world’s economy.”

The research, commissioned by Sage, revealed that:

58% consider the wider global economy to be less stable and 69% either have or are considering changing their business plan as a result of recent events.

22% of businesses are planning to export more in 2017, 10% less and 25% felt there would be no change.

31% of businesses think turnover will remain constant or remain the same over the next year.

Almost half (46%) singled out export opportunities and grants as being the most important thing that the government can now do. The second most important was improvements to the tax environment (38%) while good local services ranked third (26%).

In order to give business builders a platform to connect with policy makers, Sage is launching its ‘Forum for Business Builders’. The forum brings entrepreneurs from around the world insights, events and policy-forming partnerships to give them a powerful collective voice that can be heard on the world stage. The Forum is open to all small businesses and will be refreshed regularly with diverse content and insights from guest contributors and advisers.