SMEs Shaping The Future In CSR

Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) are important drivers of growth in economies across Sub Saharan Africa, accounting for up to 90% of all businesses in these markets.

They are the vehicles for employment, job creation and key to the regions entrepreneurial environmental needs. Innovative progressive development in Africa would not have happen without them, Socio-economic paradigm shifts would not have happen without them, they have produce middle class in Africa and thus their unique developmental enterprise role.

Associating Corporate social responsibility (CSR) with big companies giving their beautiful huge size, high profit turn over and their well known public image is not a bad thing but CSR is very critical for small and medium-sized enterprises as well (SMEs are organizations of up to 1,000 employees).

CSR is not only about treating all stakeholders responsibly or ethically but also going beyond the minimum legal requirement and obligation stemming from collective agreement in order to address societal needs. This recent definition shows that CSR is not philanthropy.

License to operate, improved risk management, reduce cost from efficient improved ways, new innovative business opportunities, good corporate brand and improve trust with key stakeholders either employees, customers, the government, suppliers and investors are just few of the numerous benefits CSR gives to a company.

I know you will be wondering is this not expensive and time consuming for SME’s to do? Since most of the SME’s founders intention is to make money. Well one nut cannot always spoil the soup and thanks to globalization there are new founders who have desire to meet societal needs in mind and since they are the key drivers commitment to purpose is much easier to engender than big companies. And this makes them more socially responsible than their much larger counterparts.

Personal touch being concern is very important and this can be found only in the SME’s since they know each other and they are few in number flow of information is very effective. They involve employees in key decision making which makes them feel part of the company, give them better flexible working hours and a relax atmosphere to work which makes them like a big family which most large companies does not offer.

SMEs does not only attract the best talent it also grows and bring out the best in even weak staff which make their existence important especially since most of the best innovative product are now coming from SME’s. Since mostly motivation leads to creative and innovation employees are able to offer their best when their leaders empowers them. I will like to end my these with the Michael Hopkins’ definition of CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility is concerned with treating the stakeholders of a company or institution ethically or in a responsible manner. ‘Ethically or responsible’ means treating key stakeholders in a manner deemed acceptable according to international norms.

Social includes economic and environmental responsibility. Stakeholders exist both within a firm and outside.

The wider aim of social responsibility is to create higher and higher standards of living, while preserving the profitability of the corporation or the integrity of the institution, for peoples both within and outside these entities.

Reference:

http://mhcinternational.com/articles/definition-of-csr

Michael Hopkins (MHCi): A Planetary Bargain: Corporate Social Responsibility Comes of Age (Macmillan, UK, 1998).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amb-robin-renee-sanders/importance-of-sme-develop_b_888407.html

 


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