Entrepreneurs and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) have become the darlings of neoliberal development thinking, with the received wisdom being that such enterprises hold the key to the economic transformation of low-income countries. This thinking has profoundly influenced development policy in Rwanda, but has singularly failed to deliver, with many of the enterprises resulting from such policies soon failing, and their entrepreneurial owners sinking back into poverty.
This book deconstructs the myths around SMEs, and reveals how neoliberal approaches towards microcredit and related programs have failed to address the real obstacles to SMEs in countries like Rwanda, effectively setting up these enterprises to fail. Drawing on his study of dozens of such enterprises in Rwanda, David Poole outlines the real factors that have determined the failure or success of SMEs, and offers key policy recommendations for fostering successful, sustainable SMEs in Rwanda and beyond.
About the Author
David Poole holds a PhD in development studies from SOAS, University of London, and has previously been a guest lecturer at the University of London’s Institute of Education. He previously had a successful career as a marketing consultant, spending several years heading a team of volunteers providing support for small enterprises in Rwanda. It was this experience that prompted his interest in the country’s post-genocide economic development, and inspired the research behind this book.