Providing knowledge resources to emerging entrepreneurs

One of the barriers to the growth of small businesses worldwide is limited access to the same tools and resources that are so readily available to larger companies. To address this challenge, IBM and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation collaborated to create the Small Business toolkit.

Now translated into 16 languages and deployed in 30 countries, this free Web portal offers a wealth of tools to help young enterprises learn and implement effective business management practices and improves their access to capital and new markets. In 2008, during the economic downturn, free resources like the Small Business Toolkit help serve as a lifeline for small businesses, particularly those in emerging markets.

"The economic crisis has been particularly hard on the small business sector — where job losses may not be fully counted in the national unemployment figures. In times like these virtual communities like SME Toolkit can be indispensable."Deborah Osgood, Co-founder, Buzgate.org (link resides outside of ibm.com), an organization that develops virtual resource communities for small businesses.

The Small Business or SME Toolkit: The Web portal is designed to support small business growth worldwide, including young enterprises in emerging markets and women- and minority-owned businesses in the U.S.

Wealth of resources: More than 500 interactive tools, business forms and how-to articles

Global content: Best-of-breed small business content acquired from major providers worldwide

An online community: Features Web 2.0 collaborative tools and in-person and online training modules

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