Service-Led Growth

Service-led growth has been a reality worldwide for most of the past century. Economists and the media, however, continue to focus on goods production as driving economic growth when it is actually the service sector that holds the key to our development. Information technology and telecommunications, the backbone of service delivery, have made it possible for young people to remain in rural communities and find good jobs through telecommuting or back office operations. Service firms continue to search for appropriately-skilled employees while manufacturers are laying off workers.

In developing economies, it is the growth of specialized business and professional services that drives overall competitiveness. Service enterprises create jobs, provide key industrial inputs, and are instrumental in poverty alleviation and balanced growth. All developing economies are already exporting on average 68 different services to an average of 33 export markets, 67 percent of which are other developing economies. The primary challenges these service exporters face are (a) lack of awareness and support from their own governments, (b) difficulty entering export markets as temporary business travelers, (c) a dearth of appropriately-skilled workers, and (d) non-competitive telecommunication and internet infrastructure.

In small businesses everywhere, competition is increasingly linked to the service value being provided within communities. The new business model requires a shift away from a traditional focus on competitive profit maximization without regard to consequences for other stakeholders or the unhealthy tension created between business and personal life and values to collaboration between business and community with a focus on work-life balance.

Dr. Riddle provides economic development assistance to communities wishing to leverage their competitive strengths. She works with individuals wanting to start service businesses and with small business owners wanting to shift to the new business model of enhancing profitability through a focus on being of service to their community.

Over the past 35 years, Dr. Riddle and her team at Service-Growth Consultants have worked in over 85 countries and with over 30 service industries on strengthening the global service sector, the quality of services available in communities, and the ability of individuals to be of service. Many of the resources created by Dr. Riddle as a result of this broad-based experience can be found on the pages of this website.