The focus of this study is to examine the factors that lead to growth in\ud small firms in a Least Developed Country (LDC). The research is\ud based on the manufacturing sector in Ghana. The main objectives of\ud the research are to identify the key variables that lead to small firms'\ud growth and to ascertain the critical barriers that impede growth.\ud A research model which is developed out of an initial exploratory\ud research and existing literature focuses on how the characteristics of\ud the owner/manager, the characteristics of the firm and the business\ud strategy variables interact to affect growth in employment. In addition\ud factors that are perceived to have constrained the growth of the small\ud firms during the study period are ascertained and discussed.\ud To properly test the hypotheses developed a face to face interview\ud survey involving 122 owner/managers of small manufacturing firms is\ud conducted. This resulted in a range of variables that allowed for the\ud construction of a comprehensive multivariate model of small firm\ud growth.\ud A resulting regression model provides about 68 percent of the\ud explanation for the growth of the small firms sampled. It also indicates\ud that the owner/manager characteristics variables offer the most\ud powerful explanation to small firm growth. We find that the\ud owner/manager's growth aspiration is the most influential factor in\ud achieving growth. The other owner/manager characteristics variables\ud that have positive influence on growth are level of education, prior\ud industry experience and entrepreneurial family background.\ud Owner/managers with local experience and/or with other business\ud interests are less likely to achieve faster growth. Foreign\ud owned/managed firms grow faster.\ud Younger and smaller firms appear to grow faster. While firms with\ud multiple ownerships tend to grow at a slower rate than firms owned and\ud managed by one person.\ud Business planning, marketing and export have positive and significant\ud impacts on growth. Other business strategies such as innovations and\ud staff training also have direct relationships with growth but not\ud significant. Some of the main constraining factors to growth are cost of borrowing,\ud lack of access to credit, high cost of inputs, lack of trust within the\ud business community, high bureaucracy, late payments and lack of\ud efficient support system. While the external environment plays\ud important role in small firm growth and development, the behaviours,\ud response and strategies pursued by individual owner/manager are\ud significant factors that determine the rate at which a firm will grow.Ghana Leasing Company Limited
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