Growth Strategies among Small and Medium Enterprises in Malaysia

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Growth Strategies among Small and Medium Enterprises –
Case of Malay Entrepreneurs

Ummi Salwa Ahmad Bustamam[1]
(Graduate School of Management, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia)


Small business operators are the backbone of economic activities in many countries. Interest in entrepreneurs often tends to revolve around high fliers like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates or, in Malaysia’s case such as Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary. Many businesses will never reach the heights of Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary but their contribution is still significant to their communities and to their country. In any businesses, entrepreneurs may confront particular challenges and barriers which impede business growth. This paper presents one case of a medium-sized Malaysian enterprise. The case attempts to analyze strategies used for preparing this business for growth. The case analysis is set within several contexts: entrepreneurship, the nature of ethnic small businesses, barriers and challenges of business growth and strategies for growth undertaken to overcome barriers and challenges. This paper concludes with a discussion of the lessons and implications as well as the accomplishments of this particular entrepreneurial venture.

Keywords: small and medium enterprise, small business growth, barriers, Malay entrepreneur


Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are a vibrant and growing sector in most economies in the world. According to Department of Statistics of Malaysia (DOS) (2005), the census of establishments and enterprises showed that SMEs accounted for 99.2 per cent from a total of 552,804 establishments. Notwithstanding the varied definitions of SMEs, the high percentage of SMEs in Malaysia reflects a similar position compared to some other economies of the world; Japan (99.7%), Republic of Korea (99.8%), Taiwan (97.8%), Thailand (99.6%), Philippines (99.6%) and Indonesia (99.9%) (DOS, 2005). Consequently, growth of SMEs contributes to...
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