Hong Kong 2003
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Small and Medium Enterprises

SMEs are the driving force of economic growth. There are over 283 000 SMEs in Hong Kong, representing about 98.2 per cent of all local enterprises. They employ more than 1.31 million people. The Government is committed to helping SMEs grow and develop.

Four SME funding schemes were established in December 2001/January 2002 to help SMEs secure loans for acquiring business installations and equipment, and meeting working capital needs, expand overseas markets, upgrade human resources, and enhance overall competitiveness. They are, respectively, the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme, the SME Export Marketing Fund, the SME Training Fund and the SME Development Fund. Over 32 800 SMEs have so far benefited from these schemes and the total government guarantee/grant involved is about $4.3 billion.

Following a comprehensive review on the effectiveness of the four funding schemes, the Small and Medium Enterprises Committee recommended a number of improvement measures, which were accepted by the Chief Executive and implemented in February and March 2003. To help SMEs rise to the challenges brought about by the SARS outbreak early in the year, further improvement measures for the funding schemes were introduced in June.

The Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs (SUCCESS) of the Trade and Industry Department is the Government's first-stop SME support centre which provides a comprehensive range of free information and consultation services to business start-ups and SMEs. SUCCESS regularly runs various activities for its clients to enhance their competitiveness, for example, seminars, workshops and company visits. SUCCESS also publishes an SME newsletter and operates a reference library. SMEs may visit SUCCESS to seek experts' advice on their specific business problems through the 'Business Advisory Services' or join the 'Mentorship Programme' under which each participant will be assigned a mentor from whom to seek guidance on business operation for a period of nine to 12 months.

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