Understanding customer needs key to SMEs growth

Editor, Refer to Emmanuel Hategeka's article, "Start small but think big - supporting SMEs to grow and export (Part III)" (The New Times, October 16).

Editor,

Refer toEmmanuel Hategeka’s article, “Start small but think big – supporting SMEs to grow and export (Part III)” (The New Times, October 16).

I warmly applaud the invaluable support extended to Rwanda start-ups and all SMEs, but surprised to find no where mentioned in the article expert interventions related to quality of products manufactured and sold by those apprentice entrepreneurs.

Obviously, research and development is not among skills normally possessed by most of those “visionary business owners”. How come then there are no institutes and/or centres programmed and/or set up to “understand what customers – in whatever targeted market – need”?

And yet, we agree, it would be on a clear understanding of those needs that adequate products will be developed. Otherwise, how do you expect mere tinkerers, no matter how crafty and “sharply focused” they may be, be so “successful and relevant over the long term” as claimed in the article?

François-Xavier Nziyonsenga