1.1 Background of the study
Over the past decade, Africa and other developing regions have been in the midst of tremendous changes. Market liberalization and governmental decentralization policies have interfaced with globalization and urbanization trends to dramatically transform social, political, economic and cultural lives. In this context of rapid change, SME operations can no longer remain behind serving only to meet sustenance income for their owners. SMEs engagements have to become a dynamic and integral part of the market economy. The identification of factors that determine new venture performance such as survival, growth or profitability has been one of the most central fields of entrepreneurship research (Sarasvathy, 2004). A multitude of research papers has focused on exploring various variables and their impact on performance (Bamford et al., 2004). However, in order to be able to analyze and model the performance of new ventures and SMEs, the complexity and dynamism they are facing as well as the fact that they may not be a homogenous group but significantly different in regard to many characteristics (Gartner et al., 1989) have to be taken into account. In line with the above, there have been challenging debates all over the world on the role played by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) towards economic development. Therefore, a vast literature on the growth and performance of SMEs has been developed over the years. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have had a privileged treatment in the development literature, particularly over the last two decades. Hardly any arguments are put forward against SMEs, even if development policies do not necessarily favour them and economic programs, voluntarily or not, often continue to result in large capital investment. Arguments for SMEs come from almost all corners of the development literature programs, particularly in the less developed countries (LDCs), tend to emphasise the role of SMEs, even if practical results differ from the rhetoric. (Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco. May, 2003) Therefore, SMEs seem to be an accepted wisdom within the development debate. It is believed that growth in SMEs should have a positive effect on the living conditions of the people, their income level, housing, utilities. Castel-Branco (2003), in a study, revealed that this is not always true because areas where SMEs are performing so well attracts public attention and many competitors begin to troop into the area. This subsequently leads to over congestion with its associated problems of which accommodation is not an exception. The structure of SMEs in Ghana as perhaps one of the main engines of growth can be viewed as rural and urban enterprises. For urban enterprises, they can either be planned or unplanned. The planned-urban enterprises are characterized by paid employees with registered offices whereas unplanned-urban enterprises are mostly confined to the home, open space, temporal wooden structures, and employment therein is family or apprentices oriented. In the recent pursuit of economic progress, Ghana as a developing country has generally come to recognize that the SME sector may well be the main driving force for growth, due to its entrepreneurial resources and employment opportunities. Nevertheless, the existing attempts to explore empirically the roles played by SME in the economic development of a nation are still somewhat ambiguous. This can be attributed, more or less, to the fact that when examining economic progress per se, economists have tended to ignore the industrial structure of the economy and the impact this can have on such development. The ambiguity of the role of SMEs has therefore necessitated the need for a study to be conducted to access the actual impact of the proliferation of SMEs on the inhabitants of the Medina community. 1.2 Problem Statement
The small business sector is...
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