Aim of the paper: Building on prior ICSB papers (Alrabeei, 2003; Alrabeei and Scott, 2011), this study aimed to investigate and critically analyze, compared to international evidence, the effectiveness of business support in overcoming the barriers to growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Kingdom of Bahrain. To achieve this aim, an index to measure the effectiveness of supporting organizations has been developed. Background: As well as extensive prior research on barriers to growth, evidence on how business support overcomes such barriers and the effectiveness of the support is more limited. This study aimed to address this gap in the literature. The literature review provides an essential understanding of barriers to growth in different parts of the world (for example UK, EU, and MENA region) and how it has been treated by the different kinds of supporting programmes. Since no studies have been conducted in Bahrain on such a scale, the literature review was conducted in order to create a base for the study of Bahraini SMEs, barriers to growth and the effectiveness of support with the aim of the creation of a business support effectiveness index. Methodology: The exploratory, mixed methods study utilized data from two focus groups of 10 members, a survey of 200 owner-managers in SMEs and a survey of 19 supporting organizations regarding barriers facing SMEs at the growth stage (see Alrabeei and Scott, 2011) and the support required to overcome such barriers. The data gathered were extracted, analysed and resulted in an effectiveness index created to measure the effectiveness of support to SMEs. Results: Given the barriers to growth for Bahraini SMEs (scarcity of qualified human resources, lack of finance, fierce competition and bureaucracy/fees from government (Alrabeei, 2013) and the available support prgorammes but a lack of awareness amongst SMEs, the business support effectiveness index showed that supporting organizations had different scores of effectiveness based on indicators such as the number of supporting programmmes provided, SMEs’ awareness of their services, their target in SMEs’ sector, and the measurement of the effect of support. Implications: The study has developed a novel business support effectiveness index. Value: Provides an innovative new business support effectiveness index that is applicable to other international and institutional contexts.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings from the International Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ICSB) 2014 World Conference|
|Publisher||Dublin Institute of Technology|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Jun 2014|