Small firms not getting enough support, says survey

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 March, 2007, 12:00am

Most heads of small businesses in Hong Kong believe they do not get enough support from government, a survey has shown.

More than 85 per cent of business leaders in the sector found the backing was inadequate and 90 per cent felt they lacked channels to put their views to the Executive Council, according to the survey, published yesterday.

A total of 311 business chiefs took part in the survey, run jointly by Savantas Policy Institute and the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Mentorship Association, on the needs of small businesses and their expectations of the next chief executive.

More than half thought too little attention was being paid to small businesses in the chief executive election debate and 73 per cent were keen to form an alliance of small and medium-sized business associations to advance their interests.

Some 60 per cent thought the chief executive should send a business delegation to the mainland to help small businesses enter its markets, and 40 per cent thought he should provide more support for research and development.

Savantas chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who was secretary for security under former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, said: 'We need an umbrella organisation representing SMEs and there is quite a bit of interest from businesses in setting up such an alliance.

'And we need new channels for the government to be in direct touch with the people who are running SMEs. The government's existing SME committee comprises big business interests rather than SMEs.'

Small businesses needed a lot of help in accessing mainland markets and were keen to take the issue up with government.

'They want to know more about the rules and regulations for business in China,' Mrs Ip said. 'They could do with more help in dissemination and collection of information and in representing their interests to local authorities [on the mainland].'