Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are viewed as extremely important for the development and sustainability of economies worldwide. To this end, much has been done to promote and support SMEs. However, a number of issues have been identified as key barriers for the establishment and operation of SME manufacturing activities. A case study in the Australian household consumer market is used to demonstrate some of the issues: accessing available government and non-government organisation information; non-standardised labelling of supplied materials from other countries; inconsistent availability of materials from certain suppliers; lack of engineering prowess for non-standardised manufacturing equipment; accessing investment capital; availability of existing systems to promote and aid clean manufacturing processes; and training requirements. Initiatives in other countries are evaluated and recommendations are made to address these issues. Finally, the positive aspects associated with the establishment of an SME in Australia are also highlighted.
Poster presentation accompanied by abstract delivered at the Asia-Pasific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production (APRSCP), Melbourne, Australia, 2005.