Ivan Epstein: Small business jobs saviour yet voiceless at Davos.

As the elite descend on Davos and look to solve the world’s problems, which include joblessness, Ivan Epstein asks the very valid point: Where’s small business? South Africa as an example sits with 1 in 4 people without work, conservative figures, and one of the perceived answers is through entrepreneurs and SMEs. The National Development Plan is relying on the sector for 11 million new jobs by 2030, yet the small business table is neglected in Davos. – Stuart Lowman

By Ivan Epstein*

In the #Davos2016 launch video, the World Economic Forum (WEF) asks its central question: ‘How do we avoid a world of joblessness, low productivity and inequality?’ The answer is by empowering small businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs and wealth in their communities.

However, as the world’s most influential business and economic figures meet to discuss our future, they have neglected to leave space at the table for the small business sector. This is a misstep, given the increasingly important role in the world’s small businesses are playing in bridging inequality, creating prosperity, and providing employment.

Ivan_Epstein_Sage_Int
Ivan Epstein

Small businesses are creating two-thirds of the jobs in developed economies. Their role is even more important in the emerging economies of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

For example, South Africa’s National Development Plan is relying on SMEs to create 90% of the 11m new jobs it seeks to create by 2030. In Nigeria, 44% of the population plan to launch their own business within the next five years (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor).

Yet small businesses have no voice at Davos. That means that their issues are not on the agenda, despite the sacrifices entrepreneurs make to grow their countries’ economies and their vital part in unlocking a more prosperous world. Thus, Sage aims to draw the attention of the world’s political and economic leaders to the small business sector.

So this week, we’re inviting start-up and small business owners to join the conversation at #AltDavos on Twitter.

What could make a real impact on your small business? Whether it’s the constant problem of regulation and red tape, access to funding, or something completely different, we want to make policy-makers across the world wake up to your issues.

*Ivan Epstein is President for Sage International (Africa, Australia, Middle East, Asia and Brazil) and Chairman of the Sage Foundation.