Information and communication technology (ICT) is acknowledged to play an important role in the growth of enterprises by contributing directly to profitability and by providing foundations for the evolution of operations from a micro to a medium level. A number of factors play a role in the successful deployment of ICT for growth and these form a complex system encompassing environmental, technical and human factors. This paper discusses the key variables and challenges facing organisations in harnessing ICT for growth, as evidenced in the literature and through a survey of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Some of the key system dynamics are proposed. The impact and shortfall of expansion-friendly ICT policies are presented and indicate a need for more general support to the sector to accompany government subsidies. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.