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Tuesday, 19 December 2006 01:55

Small business owners latch on to technology

Most small business owners globally recognise the usefulness of IT to their business, but one in five think it has no value at all, a new study suggests.

In a survey of 4,000 small business owners in eight countries by MasterCard Worldwide, 78% rated technology as important to their business. Just over a quarter (26%) viewed it as "extremely important", while a similar number (22%) rated it as not important at all.

Unsurprisingly, larger companies found more value in IT, with 33% of companies with more than 10 employees placing technology is the "extremely important" category. Gender stereotypes were also confirmed, with men more likely than women to see value in technology.

The study found the average small business owner works 54 hours a week, with 18 of those hours spent on administrative tasks -- a potentially lucrative opportunity for software companies, if they can come up with something that's secure and doesn't crash on a regular basis.

Enthusiasm for using technology was notably higher in South America, with 91% of businesses in both Brazil and Mexico rating it as important. Australia came next in the global rankings with 84%, followed by the US (83%) and China (73%).

European countries were rather less keen, with just 69% of British businesses and 68% of French businesses rating technology as important. Hong Kong dragged down the global average, with just 66% of small businesses seeing technology as important (a figure which presumably doesn't include street sellers of pirate software and DVDs).


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