As a startup agency, watching the government roll out policies that are oblivious to the differences between Startups and SMEs leave a bitter taste in my mouth. It’s almost as _______(whatever expletive works for you) as saying a body spray is the same as a perfume. This criminal act of negligence has more deleterious effects than could be imagined. Kindly allow me to correct your presumptions, if I may?

A Startup is defined as a temporary organisation that is searching for a repeatable and scalable business model, the idea behind a startup is the determination to grow quickly in a competitive industry using all of the innovation they can muster.

SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) on the other hand is an independently owned and operated enterprise,designed for profit and sells known products to known customers in local markets. It is a for-profit business of any legal structure, independently owned and operated, not nationally dominant in its field.

Startups and SMEs couldn’t be further apart in their setup and goals. While SMEs are set up to take advantage of a fully established industry, Startups are set up with the sole goal of pioneering an industry.

SMEs follow a tried and tested path and don’t travel off it. They are structured organisations that follow a known and established business model therefore, pose little risk of failure and little reward.

Startups promise potential, high return on investment, and claims to bring revolution to the industry they operate in or pioneer one of their own. Any company claiming to upend an entire industry with a novel idea is fraught with high risk and so is the reward.

This is not to put one above the other, both are important to the economy and wealth creation. However, startups work towards innovation and development of products or services that have high potential of wealth creation or employment generation rather than trying to get a slice of an existing cake (catch my drift).