Small and medium-sized enterprises

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs, also small and medium enterprises) or small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are businesses whose personnel numbers fall below certain limits.

The abbreviation "SME" is used in the European Union and by international organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Small enterprises outnumber large companies by a wide margin and also employ many more people. SMEs are also said to be responsible for driving innovation and competition in many economic sectors[1].

Learning Tasks[edit | edit source]

  • (Open Innovation Ecosystem) Explore the role of Open Innovation Ecosystems for SMEs[2].
  • (Appreciation of Failure) "Many SMEs fail". Look for the scientific evidence for that statement! For complex problem solving SMEs can operate in network of flexible innovative units that approach the problem from different angles. Design a reward system for SMEs, that appreciates well-documented failure of their business model by certain benefits. What are possible obstactles for such a reward system. Explain, why such a failure must be well-documented by the SME for having a real value for problem solving.
  • (Outsourcing Product Development) Large companies could have a research and development unit. Testing of different new scenarios or new product designs. The maintenance of research and development units are costly. If large companies buy successful SMEs, then the risk of failure is distributed from the large company to a number of SMEs, which are now responsible for risk of failure of the product design. Discuss this concept in terms of sustainability and in the context Risk Management of product development.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2018, June 8). Small and medium-sized enterprises. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 07:05, June 19, 2018, from
  2. Van de Vrande, V., De Jong, J. P., Vanhaverbeke, W., & De Rochemont, M. (2009). Open innovation in SMEs: Trends, motives and management challenges. Technovation, 29(6-7), 423-437.