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Determinants of SME and Self-Employed Entrepreneurs' Innovation Strategy and Growth Performance (SMESESAP)

Research project TA/00/40 (Research action TA)


Persons :

  • Dr.  VAN WITTELOOSTUIJN Arjen - Universiteit Antwerpen (UA)
    Coordinator of the project
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 15/1/2011-14/7/2014
  • Dr.  DEJARDIN Marcus - Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix (FUNDP)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 15/1/2011-14/7/2014
  • Dr.  DUIJSTERS Geert - Universiteit van Tilburg (UNI-TILB)
    Financed foreign partner
    Duration: 15/1/2011-14/7/2014

Description :

Why do some SMEs and self-employed achieve better performance than others? And what about the self-employed? That is the two-fold question tackled by researchers from Antwerp and Namur, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Sussex (UK) and the University of Tilburg (the Netherlands).

The role of SMEs and the self-employed in Belgium is very prominent in terms of employment creation and value added. According to the latest OECD country report (2010), Belgian SMEs employ about 600,000 people in manufacturing and 1.1 million people in services. This is equivalent to 64.7% of total national employment in manufacturing and 67.2% in services. On top of this, the role of self-employment is fairly large, too, as the approximately 720.000 self-employed reflect roughly 16% of total macro-employment in 2009 (Belgian National Bank, 2010). However, generally, SMEs are less innovative than large enterprises (only around 20% of all SMEs produced innovations in the 2004-2006 period, for more than 60% of the large enterprises in the same period). Certainly, innovations are not necessary for each and every self-employed and SMEs, but in a global world, quality and innovation are essential for sustainable economic prosperity.

Through this three-year project, the researchers will explore the performance of SMEs and the self-employed as measured through two main criteria: innovation and growth (employment and added value). The approach is systemic: researchers will explore not only the determinants of performance, but also their interactions in contributing to innovation and growth.

Concretely, the researchers will exploit existing administrative databases as well as original data that they will be collected through tailor-made surveys. Each survey will be administered twice, providing multiple waves of data, and additional opportunities to study issues related to environmental and firm-level change. They will explore the link between the traits of individuals (age, gender, qualification, and the l,ike), the profile of the firm (size, structure, access to financial means, et cetera) and its environment (competition, regulation, regional economic activity, access to public authorities, access to knowledge institution, and more) for a deeper understanding of the determinants of innovation and growth by SMEs and the self-employed.

Their conclusions will be communicated to relevant decision-makers, and actors in the world of SMEs and the self-employed. Each actor, whatever her/his domain of action, will have a better knowledge of the decisions to be made in order to reinforce the performance of the SMEs and self-employed.


Documentation :

Ajuster les complexités entrepreneuriales pour de meilleures performances.
Résultats d’études sur données belges : rapport final
  van Witteloostuijn, Arjen - Dejardin, Marcus - Hermans, Julie ... et al  Bruxelles : Politique scientifique fédérale, 2015 (SP2601)
[To download

Ajuster les complexités entrepreneuriales pour de meilleures performances.
Résultats d’études sur données belges : résumé
  van Witteloostuijn, Arjen - Dejardin, Marcus - Hermans, Julie ... et al  Bruxelles : Politique scientifique fédérale, 2015 (SP2602)
[To download

Fitting entrepreneurial complexities for better performance : collected evidence from Belgium : summary  van Witteloostuijn, Arjen - Dejardin, Marcus - Hermans, Julie ... et al  Brussels : Belgian Science Policy, 2015 (SP2603)
[To download

Fitting entrepreneurial complexities for better performance : collected evidence from Belgium : samenvatting  van Witteloostuijn, Arjen - Dejardin, Marcus - Hermans, Julie ... et al  Brussel : Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, 2014 (SP2604)
[To download

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