From a worldwide perspective, it is now recognized that SMEs play a vital role in economic development and growth in many countries. They contribute not only to job creation and income generation, but also to industrial development and export growth. Recent data show that together with large enterprises (LEs), SMEs accounted for more than 90 per cent of all enterprises in the vast majority of the countries, including industrialized countries (Khaw, 1997). For instance, in both the United States and West European countries, SMEs accounted for over 90 per cent of all companies and least two-thirds of total employment (Lisk, 1997, and Kirchhoff, 1995). In Canada, in 1993, about 98 per cent of all Canadian firms had fewer than 50 employees and as many as 75 per cent had fewer than five employees (Litvak, 1997). In Australia, over 80 per cent of manufacturing exporters and 65 per cent of service exporters being SMEs (Carmichael, 1995). In the former centrally-planned economies of Eastern and Central Europe, privatization of large state enterprises has been accompanied by small enterprises involved in a wide range of economic activities. 1