Configuring Ecosystems for MSMEs to Achieve SDGs: A Co-Design Study in Botswana and Malaysia

Badziili Nthubu, Sivakumari Supramaniam, Susela Devi K. Suppiah

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


While MSMEs in Botswana and Malaysia are contributing immensely to their nations’ economic development, challenges of high unemployment, poverty, and inequality still exist. These challenges (and others) defeat the efforts tailored to achieving the most sustainable development goals. Consequently, Botswana and Malaysia are investing heavily in policies that nurture entrepreneurship. However, entrepreneurs still face various challenges in growing their businesses, e.g., access to finance, skilled manpower, and access to new markets. In the case of Botswana, 70% of entrepreneurs fail within the first 18 months of operation, and the overall failure rate is above 80%. A similar scenario is evident in Malaysia. The OECD acknowledges that many of the MSMEs’ problems emerge from poorly designed local ecosystem policies. Since MSMEs are embedded in local ecosystems where they are expected to gain access to key resources such as knowledge, skills, finance, business opportunities, and networks, understanding these local conditions is paramount to achieving sustainable development goals.

This chapter argues that much work needs to be focused on exploring local MSMEs ecosystems, where entrepreneurs are embedded. Developing entrepreneurship in emerging economies requires more than just giving out money to MSMEs, but supporting them with tools to understand, nurture, and manage local ecosystems. This chapter draws from case studies between two emerging economies, i.e., Botswana and Malaysia. In both cases, the chapter discusses key findings drawn from co-design activities with MSMEs and their stakeholders. This chapter argues that co-design approaches are significant in helping MSMEs to collaboratively understand and access resources embedded in local ecosystems, thus bringing them closer to achieving sustainable development goals. The discussions add to the literature on how MSMEs and policymakers can use co-design to reveal important factors that affect framework conditions at the local level and how policies developed at the national level can be tailored to local conditions to support MSMEs ecosystems and, by large, UN SDGs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRole of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Achieving SDGs
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan, Singapore
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2023


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