Companies that have already grown to be large, defined by the OECD as having 250 or more employees, have been shown to be important job creators in countries like the United States. However, in many of the countries which need jobs the most the base of large businesses is not significant. Greece and Ireland, for example, each have less than 500 large companies. In developing countries, the proportion of large firms is particularly small. While high-income countries with strong economies, such as the United States, Germany and United Kingdom, tend to have close to 100 large firms per million people, the middle-income countries of Brazil, the Philippines and Turkey each have less than 50. The proportion of large firms in low-income countries where economic census data is not readily available, such as Kenya, Cambodia and Bolivia, is also likely to be very low.
Enabling high-potential small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow to become large businesses is one of the most important mechanisms for solving the job creation crisis. The supply of SMEs is plentiful in both developed and developing economies. And, organizations which support entrepreneurship in their economies have found that scalable SMEs exist across an array of industries and sectors. The potential impact of these SMEs is quite significant; on average, an SME that grows into a large business creates more than 200 jobs.
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