Many governments have in place measures aimed at stimulating many of their firms to get involved in exporting. This paper aimed at investigating perceived benefits of and barriers to exporting among small and medium sized non-exporting firms in Malawi. An investigation was also made into the extent to which managers regarded the achievement of some common business goals as important to their firms. Data was collected from 100 owner-managers of non-exporting small and medium sized firms in Malawi using a structured questionnaire. The findings of the study showed that managers regard steady growth of their firms, increased sales and profitability as well as development of new markets as very important. The managers agreed to the fact that exporting can significantly help their firms achieve their business goals. They however perceived many barriers to export involvement. The most important barrier was related to personnel problems, in that they felt that they lacked sufficient knowledge about export opportunities and personnel knowledgeable in exporting. Significant differences were found in the extent to which firms in the three industries studied, regarded different barriers as important. The findings of the study have wider implications on promotion of exports and these have been highlighted in the paper.
Key words: Export involvement, non-exporters, export barriers, Malawi.
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