Entrepreneurship and the growth of nations: A comparative study of the small business sector in Australia and Singapore

Calvin Wang

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Strong entrepreneurial traditions in Australia and Singapore have contributed
significantly to the growth of these economies. Nowhere is entrepreneurship
more evident than in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, which
not only make up the overwhelming majority of all private sector firms in
the two countries, but also produces about half of all private sector employment and overall GDP (Hall 2008; Randhawa and Tan 2009). Against this
backdrop, both countries have taken an interventionist approach-as have
most nations globally-to create an environment that promotes and supports
SME and entrepreneurial activity as part of broader national economic and
social policies, and industrial development strategies (Hall 2008; Schaper et
al. 2008).
Although neighbours by regional proximity and cousins from a shared
history of British colonisation, there is no doubt that Australia and Singapore
are contextually different. One is a developed western secular democracy,
the other is effectively an advanced one-party state with strong Confucianist
leanings; both are counted in the Top 25 of countries by per capita GDP but
one achieves this with a population of over 21 million, large reserves of natural resources and a land mass of more than 7.6 million square kilometres;
the other does so with less than five million people on an island about 700
square kilometres in area with no natural resources. Comparisons on any
key dimension give rise to complexities beyond what any simple East-versusWest or David-versus-Goliath analysis can practically provide insights into. Yet, both face similar challenges and opportunities in the future by virtue of
geography and increased globalisation.
The present chapter will explore entrepreneurship and SMEs in
Australia and Singapore. The chapter is divided into three sections: the first
provides an overview of the SME sectors in Australia and Singapore, and
examines the nature of entrepreneurship in these two neighbours; the second section extends these discoveries by investigating the underlying drivers and
barriers of entrepreneurial activity and SME growth. The chapter concludes
with a final look at contemporary challenges and the way forward if entrepreneurship and SM Es are to be harnessed for the economic growth of the
two nations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralia-Singapore relations
Subtitle of host publicationSuccessful bilateral relations in a historical and contemporary context
EditorsIan Patrick Austin
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSelect Publishing
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9789814022811
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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