Most micro, small, medium enterprises in Malawi struggle to grow and survive despite their critical role in the socio-economic development of the country. One major contributing factor is their inability to innovate. This study was therefore aimed at investigating the innovation barriers affecting the manufacturing MSMEs. The study was conducted among the 45 manufacturing MSMEs operating in the Malawi’s commercial city of Blantyre. The study adopted a case study approach and employed both quantitative and descriptive approaches. Empirical data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire and one- on- one interview. The results of the study revealed that factors such as market competition, difficulty in accessing loans, inadequate government support, labour laws, taxes and regulations in the external environment, and inadequate financial resources, lack of qualified personnel, and poor financial performance within the enterprises hamper innovation activities within the MSMEs. Results of the study also revealed that despite government efforts to promote MSMEs innovativeness, most MSMEs do not participate in such government interventions and worse still some are not even aware of the existence of such interventions. The study therefore recommends that government should intensify its efforts to provide financial support in form of soft loans, entrepreneurial training to MSMEs and promote innovation in MSMEs through relevant policies.
Key words: Micro small medium enterprises (MSMEs), innovation, barriers, manufacturing.
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