Foreword Small Bus Econ (2009) 33:1 DOI 10.1007/s11187-009-9186-6 Janez Potoc ˇnik Research, education and innovation—the three sides of potential, which develop, apply or acquire new the knowledge triangle—are primary factors for Euro- technology. For the vast majority of SMEs, however, pean competitiveness and welfare, and for addressing innovation is not about technological revolution, but societal challenges, such as climate change and glob- about a permanent process of evolution. alisation. Realising the ‘fifth freedom’, the free circu- I am pleased that one of the leading international lation of knowledge within Europe, and investing more journals in the field of the economics of SMEs has and better into R&D are core elements of a long-term decided to publish a special issue on Drivers and European research policy strategy. This is the rationale Impacts of Corporate R&D in SMEs, which has been behind the Agenda for Growth and Jobs, originally developed in close cooperation with the Joint launched in Lisbon in 2000, which set the goal of Research Centre of the European Commission. making the European Union the most competitive and I am encouraged to see that the conclusions of the dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world. papers point to the need to have targeted policies Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are at directed at particular subgroups of SMEs. This supports the heart of the European knowledge economy. They the diversity of current European policies and pro- are the basis of its future growth and prosperity because grammes. These support research-intensive SMEs, with they are turning knowledge into new products, services tailored measures such as the joint EUREKA-EU and business opportunities. This is why the Commis- Eurostars Programme and through the Community sion launched the Small Business Act in June 2008, Research Framework Programme, whilst complement- which sets the overarching framework for improving ing these with other measures tailored to help SMEs future SME-related research and innovation policies. without research capacity to acquire the research and There are 23 million SMEs in Europe, and 90% of knowledge they need from outside. Further down- these are micro-enterprises, diverse in nature, with stream, the European Commission has also developed fewer than ten employees. Among those are quite a measures designed to encourage innovation and entre- few ‘‘technology pioneers’’, high-tech companies for preneurship, such as equity and debt-based financial which research is the very life-blood of entrepre- instruments, information and networking, and we are neurial success. In addition, there is a significant striving to create a regulatory environment that is more number of innovative SMEs with high growth conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship, particu- larly in ‘‘lead markets’’ with high growth potential. I wish to thank the editors and authors who contrib- J. Potocnik (&) uted to this special issue. Their work provides a valuable European Commission for Science and Research, Brussels, Belgium contribution to Europe’s sustainable growth. e-mail: Small Business Economics Springer Journals
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Business and Management; Management; Microeconomics; Entrepreneurship; Industrial Organization
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