nep-sbm New Economics Papers
on Small Business Management
Issue of 2009‒12‒19
ten papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Drivers for international innovation activities in developed and emerging countries By Schmiele, Anja
  2. Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Spatial Disparities: Divisions and Changes of Self-employment and Firms By Bögenhold, Dieter; Fachinger, Uwe
  3. Building Absorptive Capacity to Organise Inbound Open Innovation in Low Tech Industries By A. SPITHOVEN; B. CLARYSSE; M. KNOCKAERT
  4. Does a Free Press Nurture Entrepreneurship? By Nabamita Dutta; Sanjukta Roy; Russell S. Sobel
  5. Do we really need regional innovation agencies? Some insights from the experience of an Italian region By Annamaria Fiore; Maria Jennifer Grisorio; Francesco Prota
  6. Skill composition and regional entrepreneurship: a comparative study between Germany and Portugal By Mendonça, Joana; Grimpe, Christoph
  7. International R&D cooperation: the perceptions of SMEs and Intermediaries By Margarida Catarino; Aurora A.C. Teixeira
  8. Open entrepreneurship centers in Brazil: To promote sustainable development and poverty reduction By Ronald Jean Degen
  9. Public Policy and Success of Business Start-ups in Germany By Verena Eckl; Michael Rothgang; Friederike Welter
  10. Bridging University-Firm relationships and Open Innovation literature: a critical synthesis By Luís Pinheiro; Aurora A.C. Teixeira

  1. By: Schmiele, Anja
    Abstract: This paper aims to shed light on firm specific drivers that lead firms to internationalise their innovation activities. The paper draws a comprehensive picture of driving forces by including firm capabilities, characteristics of the firm’s competitive environment and the influence of innovation obstacles in the home country. In particular, the role of the potential driving forces is tested on the probability to carry out different innovative activities abroad (R&D, design/conception of new products, manufacturing of innovative products and implementation of new processes). In a second step these driving forces are used to observe their impact on the decision to locate innovation activities in various countries and regions (China, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and North America) as well as in groups of countries with similar levels of knowledge (country clubs). The analysis is based on the Mannheim Innovation Panel survey which represents the German CIS (Community Innovation Survey) contribution. Two survey waves are combined and result in a sample of about 1400 firms. The results show that the decision to perform innovation activities abroad is mainly driven by organisational capabilities such as absorptive capacities, international experience and existing technological competences of the respective firm. Innovation barriers at the German home base such as lack of labour and high innovation costs foster the set up of later-stage innovation activities abroad while the lack of demand demonstrates a barrier to the internationalisation decision for the development and manufacturing of new products. Location decisions receive the strongest influencing effects from the international experience of the firm. Firms which innovate in developing countries seem to require a more extensive level of international experience by international R&D cooperation. --
    Keywords: Internationalisation of R&D,Innovation,Absorptive Capacities,Market Structure,China,Asia,Emerging countries
    JEL: F23 L22 L25 O31 O32 O47
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Bögenhold, Dieter; Fachinger, Uwe
    Abstract: Topic of the paper is the development of professional self-employment during the last decades in Germany. The discussion is divided into a theoretical and an empirical section. The first theoretical part deals with the term entrepreneurship and asks for its overlapping with categories of self-employment and of innovation. Although these terms cover only partially the same meanings, political discourse often equals the slogan to foster entrepreneurship and innovation with an increase of self-employment. The second section of the paper is concerned with concrete investigation of development patterns of occupational self-employment since the beginning of the 1990th until 2006 based upon microcensus data for Germany. First of all, the overall increase of self-employment becomes visible but the principle lines hide further fundamental structural changes. A majority of those „new“ self-employed people belongs into the category of solo-self-employment and micro firms without further employees. An equation of entrepreneurship with innovation activities and in-creasing self-employment ratios falls too short and is problematic with respect to discussion on economic policy needs to increase growth. Differentiation for regions, economic sectors and gender offers a picture which is contradictory and which does not correspond with some causal explanations as found conventionally.
    Keywords: self-employment; entrepreneurship; professionals; development; Germany
    JEL: J44 J23 R23
    Date: 2009–11–29
    Abstract: The discussion on open innovation suggests that the ability to absorb external knowledge has become a major driver for competition. In the case of inbound open innovation, companies screen their environment to search for the appropriate technology and knowledge and do not exclusively rely on in-house R&D. A key precondition is that firms dispose of “absorptive capacity” to internalise external knowledge. For R&D intensive large firms, the concept of absorptive capacity is well understood. In contrast, for small firms and firms operating in traditional sectors, implementing the concept of absorptive capacity is less documented. These firms will have to look for assistance to build their absorptive capacity or even to ‘outsource’ a significant part of this function. This paper, therefore, focuses on the role of collective research centres in Belgium in building absorptive capacity at the intraorganisational dyad level. This type of technology intermediaries are created to help firms operating in traditional sectors to take advantage of the latest technological developments. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate that the trend towards openness of the innovation process forces firms lacking absortive capacity to search for alternative ways to engage in inbound open innovation. The paper highlights the multiple activities of which absorptive capacity is made up; it defines the concept of absorptive capacity as a precondition to open innovation; and it demonstrates how firms lacking absorptive capacity collectively cope with the distributedness of knowledge and innovation.
    Keywords: open innovation; absorptive capacity; technology intermediation
    Date: 2009–08
  4. By: Nabamita Dutta (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse); Sanjukta Roy (Department of Economics, West Virginia University); Russell S. Sobel (Department of Economics, West Virginia University)
    Abstract: Entrepreneurship is the main engine of economic growth and prosperity. Previous research has explored both the factors that make individuals more likely to be entrepreneurs and the economic policies that foster entrepreneurial activity. In this paper we explore, for the first time, the relationship between media freedom and entrepreneurial activity. A free press might increase entrepreneurial activity because it increases the flow of ideas and information, leading to both more new discoveries as well as an easier ability for entrepreneurs to market and sell new products and innovations.
    Keywords: Entrepreneur; Entrepreneurship; Media Freedom; Institutions
    JEL: L26 L82 O43
    Date: 2009
  5. By: Annamaria Fiore (Agenzia Regionale per la Tecnologia e l’Innovazione - ARTI); Maria Jennifer Grisorio (Agenzia Regionale per la Tecnologia e l’Innovazione - ARTI); Francesco Prota (Department of Economics & Mathematics, University of Bari)
    Abstract: Increasing globalization, if properly exploited, can provide interesting opportunities for regional economies. Nevertheless, when they are not managed with a far-sighted approach, regions, and particularly those at an intermediate level of development, can lose their comparative advantages compared to regions of developing countries. Innovation is the main instrument for improving and ensuring competitiveness to enterprises and growth opportunities to local economies. The aim of this paper is to discuss the importance of public policies in reinforcing regional innovation systems, and the role of regional innovation agencies. With this in mind, we describe the policies implemented by the Regional Agency for Technology and Innovation (ARTI) of Apulia, a region in Southern Italy. We also provide the first assessment of ARTI’s activities and provide some suggestions on how to improve regional R&D policies.
    Keywords: public policy, innovation, regional innovation system, regional competitiveness
    JEL: O18 O38 R58
    Date: 2009–11
  6. By: Mendonça, Joana; Grimpe, Christoph
    Abstract: The question whether agglomeration externalities arise either from specialization or diversification of economic activity has since long been a major topic in the analysis of factors determining economic growth. In this paper we analyze whether a more specialized or a more diverse skill composition of labor in regions affects the level of new firm entries in general as well as in technology- and knowledge-intensive subsectors. We compare Germany and Portugal which exhibit, though EU member states, different institutional infrastructures for entrepreneurship. Based on a harmonized dataset, our results indicate that the skill composition has different effects on firm entry in the two countries. More specifically, for Portugal the specialization of skills has a positive effect on the level on new firm entry in all sectors. In contrast to this, our results for Germany reveal exactly the opposite effect. These results suggest that both specialization and diversity theories hold, and that the effect thus may depend on other more local and regional factors. --
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship,skill composition,regional analysis,comparative study
    JEL: J24 L26 O57 R11
    Date: 2009
  7. By: Margarida Catarino (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto); Aurora A.C. Teixeira (CEF.UP, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto; INESC Porto)
    Abstract: Despite the large number of studies on Research and Development (R&D) cooperation, this is, in general, focused on the firms’ perceptions, neglecting the perception of the R&D Intermediary (e.g., universities, technology centres, R&D institutes, intellectual property supporting offices). Moreover, cooperation has been analyzed on a national perspective with cooperation projects in R&D involving entities from different countries being rarely studied. In the present paper we gathered empirical evidence on the motivation, obstacles and outcomes of international R&D cooperation projects based on the perceptions from both firms and intermediaries. Resorting to an unique database that includes 473 R&D international cooperation projects, developed within the 6th Framework Programme, we demonstrate that the heterogeneity is quite large as far as the motivations are concerned for the international R&D cooperation. This high heterogeneity might explain the high failure rate of R&D partnerships, namely the ones involving firms and universities. Not losing sight of the necessary enhancement of the scientific and knowledge basis, essential for the technological progress of nations, evidence gathered seem to advise an attitude on behalf of Intermediaries more focused on firms’ intended results.
    Keywords: international R&D cooperation, Intermediaries, firms
    Date: 2009–11
  8. By: Ronald Jean Degen (International School of Management Paris)
    Abstract: Degen introduced the teaching of entrepreneurship in Brazil in 1980 and wrote the first Portuguese language textbook on entrepreneurship in 1989. The purpose was to raise awareness of the country?s poverty among students, motivate them to become entrepreneurs, and promote the sustainable development necessary to eliminate the country?s extreme poverty. After almost 30 years extreme poverty continues to be the greatest challenge for the sustainable development of Brazil. Without solving this problem there will be no preservation of the country?s natural resources, no personal safety for its citizens, and no political stability. Degen demonstrates that the teaching of entrepreneurship in Brazilian business schools has not in fact been effective in promoting entrepreneurship and sustainable development. In this paper he proposes a new approach for Brazilian universities in which they create open entrepreneurship centers and enhance their role so as to act as social agents promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction. Their new role will be to better motivate students to become entrepreneurs with social responsibility, to assist them in finding business opportunities that preserve the country?s natural resources and reduce poverty, and to help them find investors for sustainable development projects in Brazil.
    Keywords: open entrepreneurship centers, teaching entrepreneurship in Brazil, entrepreneurship to promote sustainable development, entrepreneurship to reduce extreme poverty, universities as social agents
    JEL: M0 M1
    Date: 2009–11–29
  9. By: Verena Eckl; Michael Rothgang; Friederike Welter
    Abstract: In this paper, we evaluate the success of publicly supported business start-ups by comparing the outcomes of various support measures. Our question is: do business starter get what they need? Since we do not know the needs of the founders we analyse (1) who received which kind of support (financial support, individual coaching, general information) and (2) which kind of support is successful for whom with regard to his/her job history (employed, unemployed or being not part of the job market). While start-up measures possibly could aim at different kinds of eff ects, our focus is on the effect on subsequent firm growth. The analysis is based on a survey conducted in 2005. The sample was drawn from a highly heterogeneous population of business start-ups. By using propensity score exact matching for success measurement we try to capture those differences.
    Keywords: Business start-ups, public policy, public support, matching
    JEL: J23 M13 C14
    Date: 2009–10
  10. By: Luís Pinheiro (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto); Aurora A.C. Teixeira (CEF.UP, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto; INESC Porto)
    Abstract: Open Innovation is understood as a flow of incoming and outgoing knowledge and technology which allows, at the level of a firm, the acceleration of the innovation process, as well as a faster establishment and access to new markets, for external use of that same innovation. This type of innovation includes technological innovation, which comes from internal and external sources, as well as different modalities of accessing the market and, therefore, commercializing the innovation. Resorting to a bibliometric analysis, using Open Innovation as the search keyword, we found that the majority of the existing studies on OI is of conceptual character. On the one hand, from the scarce existing empirical studies, the issue of the relation University – Enterprise (U-E), one of the components of the open innovation model, is analyzed in a relatively superficial way neglecting, or not referring in the most appropriated way, the mechanisms by which companies could obtain (via innovation) competitive advantage through the exploration of a more open model of innovation based on the relationships with universities. On the other hand, the existing studies on U-E relations do not highlight, at least in an explicit way, the question of the open innovation model. Such studies are still highly directed to a unidirectional profit optic, that is, are too centred on the advantages which the enterprises will be able to obtain from the relation with the universities, failing taking into account the value that potentially goes to universities from such links.
    Keywords: Open Innovation; U-E relations; Emergency; Sustainability; Benefits
    Date: 2009–11

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