An Untapped Force for Global Education: An Exploration of Small and Medium Enterprises

Photo by Jeswin Thomas @unsplash

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in our economy, and many are using their expertise as a force for good. Small businesses are making a big impact on education.


Our research found that small businesses are playing an increasing role in supporting education in local communities and around the world, particularly for underserved students.

The study examines dozens of businesses in 18 countries, highlighting the role small and medium enterprises play in supporting education and the innovative ways in which they are engaging their consumers in the cause.

  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent 90% of existing businesses, up to 70% of jobs and 40% of emerging economies’ GDPs.
  • SMEs are impacting millions of children through mentoring, tutoring, scholarships, support to afterschool programs, financial contributions, and pro bono support.
As countries and communities look towards economic recovery, the report highlights how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should be part of the solution to bridge the gap between education and employment.

The report recommends easy steps to get involved such as learning from other businesses’ experiences, working with suppliers or client companies, or supporting after-school programs.

Hear from Small Business Leaders

In this report launch event recording, lead researcher Edith Asibey shares insights from GBC-Education’s recent research and interviews three passionate SME leaders about their motivations, challenges, and aspirations related to supporting students and schools. The small business panel includes:

  • Edith Asibey, Asibey Consulting, United States
  • Belinda Borck, Tony’s Chocolonely, The Netherlands
  • Olasupo Abideen, OpabGas, Nigeria
  • Terrence Southern, HarozTec, United States