Profile: SMEs

Small and Medium Enterprise Development

More than eight in 10 surveyed SMEs believe taking better advantage of the Internet would improve their businesses' economic performance, and seven in ten of those expect that doing so would create new jobs in their organisation. They have good reason to believe this. The Internet is enabling both top-line growth through marketing and sales, as well as bottom-line growth through increased efficiency in information management. It is enabling entirely new classes of business to emerge, as entrepreneurs develop local content and applications, while helping existing businesses trim costs as information management becomes digitised and networked. Policymakers should boost their small business sectors by helping to smooth the transition from mMoney to eCommerce, continuing to lower bandwidth costs and improve connection quality, and improving business environments.

Impact intensity and potential of Internet-enabled services for SMEs

SMEs Scorecard

The internet is bringing top-line growth and bottom-line improvement to small and medium-sized enterprises. This can be accelerated through targeted investment in conditions for cloud solutions


Information management


Communications, awareness, marketing


Supply chain management


Service delivery




workforce development





Low Low
Med Med
High High

Heat mapping based on perceived sector need, perceived
national need and of current activity in the country.

Dalberg report sector intensity

Marketing and awareness have driven significant bussines growth in Nigeria, where the Get Nigerian Business Online(GNBO) initiative has brought 25,000 businesses onto the web since 2011


According to interviews in Ghana, online sales (eCommerce) are growing, but hindered by the lack of support services such as delivery systems and online payment platforms.


According to Kenya's iHub Research, a shift towards mobile phone banking and payment services is the key to unlocking other internet services for SMEs

'High or some Extent' of Internet use for business functions

Internet use for business functions
Dalberg report selected analysis
  • Policymakers should engage with private sector as the eCommerce and payments ecosystem develops and support space for innovation as eCommerce business models develop.
  • Leaders must ensure that the conditions necessary for cloud computing are integrated into National ICT Strategies in particular, promoting quality, affordable broadband, investing in digital skills and capabilities and ensuring a sound business environment.
  • Policymakers should consider lowering bandwidth costs by convening large telecom companies to set investment strategy and provide subsidies.
  • Governments can play a special role in increasing Internet awareness - and therefore, use of it across sectors - by migrating further toward eGovernment services.
Source: Dalberg analysis and interviews; Balancing Act Africa "Nigeria: Google Commences Training for 500 Entrepreneurs," August 2012
Dalberg report considerations