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SYNOPSIS

The aim of this research is to study and analyze the process of interaction between the enterprises of the small and medium business and the larger enterprises in the process of introduction of innovations.

In order to reach the aim of the research it is necessary to resolve the following main tasks:

to study the practice of cooperation between the enterprises of the small and medium business and the larger enterprises;

to determine objectives of cooperation and benefits for the participants;

to analyze the forms, conditions and results of such cooperation.

The subject of this research is a process of interaction between the enterprises of the small and medium business and the larger enterprises creating innovative products and/or using innovative technologies in their activities.

The object of the research is the small and medium-sized enterprise (up to 250 employees) as well as the large enterprises introducing innovations in the North-West Russia, in particular, in Saint-Petersburg, the Leningrad Oblast, Kaliningrad, Petrozavodsk and Murmansk.

The following was taken into consideration in the research of the process of interaction between the enterprises of the small and medium business and the larger companies in the course of introduction of innovations:

There are diverse interpretations of the term "innovation" in various sources of information.

In this research (in compliance with the international standards and the Russian law: Innovation is determined as an ultimate result of the innovative activities embodied in a new or improved product introduced in the market, a new or improved technological process used in the practical activities, or in a new approach to the social services.

The process of interaction between the small and the larger enterprises in the course of introduction of innovations in the Russian Federation has its own peculiar features, since the history of development of the business structures in Russia has its own specific character, which is a consequence of a number of political and economic processes, such as privatization and formation of the holding structures, industrial and financial groups on the basis of large industrial associations.

For the purposes of the research the authors have developed a methodology and a hypothesis about interaction between the small and larger enterprises in the course of introduction of innovations.

In the process of analysis the authors used both open sources of information and results of the interview conducted with the executives of the small/medium- sized innovation enterprises.

Sampling of the enterprises for this research was random to a certain extent.

This can be explained by desire (or its absence) and willingness of this or that firm to cooperate in the process of survey.

The life cycle of the small (medium)-sized enterprise was taken as a starting point for this research, and the authors considered availability of interaction with the larger enterprise at each stage of its development:

Interaction at the stage of a business idea generation;

Interaction at the stage of formation of a material base and search for the sources of financial resources;

Interaction in the process of realization of the innovative idea in the course of:

making developments;

production;

marketing actions, and sale of the innovative product.

In this work the authors considered the influence of external and internal factors on development of the innovative enterprises.

In researching the process of interaction between the small and larger enterprises the authors identified the following problems of the small-sized enterprises:

Problem of funds raising

This problem is especially urgent at the stage of initial financing, at the first stage of development of the small-sized investment enterprise.

In the course of the research the authors found out that the small business in Saint Petersburg develops for the account of self-financing. Less than 1% of the enterprises take loans from the credit institutions. It is not profitable for the banks to work in this segment of the credit market. In their turn, the small-sized enterprises do not take loans because of high interest rates, necessity to provide a security and lack of a credit history. The most accessible financial resource for the small-sized enterprise is a short-term loan of the banks, but this type of lending makes long-term investments in the innovative projects impossible.

The small-sized enterprise, which has no support of a larger partner, faces the problem of a security to be given for a bank loan and unacceptable conditions of long-term lending.

High risk of innovative business for the small-sized enterprise linked to a long term for development and introduction of the innovation

For the purpose to reduce the risk connected with a long term for development and introduction of the innovation, it is necessary to try to make shorter the period of realization - from generation of an innovative idea to its practical embodiment (a full-scale production).

This is very hard task, since it is quite often very difficult to plan a date of completion of the innovative developments (due to a creative nature of this process), and there is a risk that by the moment of development such product will be released in the market by another company. Besides, it is not easy to determine and form an effective demand for a new product. This problem may be resolved through cooperation with a larger company that possesses the resources for a quick embodiment of the innovative idea and entry to a market with a new product or service. If we talk about an existing product, then it is possible to exit from this situation (to reduce the risk) by purchasing a license to produce the product or the service.

Possibility to use the services of leasing companies. Possibility to use the leasing schemes

The requirements of a majority of the leasing companies are not adapted to the enterprises of the small and medium business, since the latter often do not have a credit history. The key task of the leasing company cooperating with the small and medium business is to adapt the requirements to such firms. Reduction of formalities has a positive effect on making a decision to give borrowed funds. Viability of the small-sized enterprise often depends on how quick the leasing company makes a decision to provide the financing.

Access to informational resources

The informational resource is the second most important item for the small innovation business after the financial one. The most popular sources of information among the businessmen are Internet, specialized magazines and mass media. The authors identified a shortage of information about the subjects of small enterprises, marketing analysis of the market, tenders, real estate as well as a certain informational isolation of the small business (2% is aware of the aggregate measures taken to support the small business).

Absence of developed infrastructure to support the small business

In the process of the research the authors found out that the federal and regional programs aimed to support the small business failed to play a decisive role in development of this economic sector.

Low level of the cooperative relations between the small-sized and larger enterprises

The larger enterprises, having an advantage before the small-sized businesses in terms of availability of or access to the resources (financial, human, informational), do not strive to such cooperation.

From the survey conducted among the executives of the larger enterprises in Saint Petersburg it was founded that they do not consider the small businesses as economically profitable and worthy partners.

Problem to attract skilled personnel

Development of innovative business requires creative skilled personnel. Such personnel costs quite high in the market. As a rule, at a small-sized enterprise the employer can provide a sufficient remuneration for the work of skilled personnel at the stage of business growth.

Consequently, it is the problem to attract a skilled staff at the first stage of the business development, which has a significant influence on its success and achievement of the deserved results from introduction of innovative ideas.

Furthermore, in the course of the research the authors identified a low level of management, first of all, in the area of marketing and finances due to a shortage of skilled managers.

The study of the process of interaction between the small and the large business in introduction of innovations was conducted from two points (Picture 1):

availability of ownership relations (on the basis of foundation of one enterprise by another);

participation in a single technological process aimed to create an innovative product or to use an innovative technology.

The analysis allowed to single out four most widespread forms of interaction between the small (medium)-sized enterprise and the larger firm (Table 1):

1st form of interaction - "the Founder - the Founded Enterprise"

The Founder can make his contribution to the capital of a small-sized enterprise in the form of:

cash;

non-material assets (licenses, patents, trade marks, copyrights);

real estate objects (including the areas);

office equipment and production facilities.

The larger enterprise can pursue a number of ends in foundation of a small-sized enterprise:

the small-sized enterprise is set up in order to participate in a general business process of the larger enterprise, as a supplier of complete parts, products or services;

the small-sized enterprise does not participate in the business process of the larger enterprise, and is considered either as an object of financial participation of the larger enterprise, or an interesting project from the strategic point, or a result of the larger enterprise's strategy for diversification. The larger enterprise can give a moral support to the innovative business - to lobby its interests, to assist in taking loans, or to secure the loans.

2nd form of interaction - "the Lender - the Borrower"

This type of cooperation often happens in practice together with the other forms of interaction between the small and larger enterprises.

rd

3 form of interaction - "the Supplier - the Customer"

This type of cooperation is established between the small-sized and larger enterprises depending on whether the former has a "productive function".

It is possible to single out three groups of the small-sized enterprises in relation to the productive function:

the small-sized enterprise has no production facility (can be engaged in development and sale), therefore it places its orders at the larger enterprise-manufacturer;

the small-sized enterprise has its own production facility, but its own manufacturing capacities are insufficient, therefore it places its orders outside;

the small-sized enterprise has its own production facility and purchases complete parts for production or assembly of the finished products.

Thus, in consideration of this type of cooperation, the larger enterprise, the Supplier, can act as:

the Supplier of raw resources, materials or complete parts for the small-sized enterprise;

the Supplier of services for production of either complete parts or finished products by an order of the small-sized enterprise (from the raw resources and materials both provided by the small-sized enterprise and purchased by itself);

the Supplier of services for sale of the products of the small-sized enterprise.

4th form of interaction - "the Customer - the Supplier"

Depending on the end output of the small-sized enterprise it is possible to single out:

the small-sized enterprise-manufacturer that can carry out subcontract works for the larger enterprise, or act as one of the suppliers of complete parts for the larger enterprise;

the small-sized enterprise-researcher that can conduct investigations and developments for the larger enterprise;

the small-sized enterprise-seller.

By the types of interaction between the small-sized and larger enterprise in the process of creation of an innovative product or use of an innovative technology it is possible to single out three main types (Picture 2):

The technological interaction means a vertical or horizontal integration between the small- sized and larger enterprises in the process of production of the innovative products.

The financial interaction can be expressed in financing the small-sized enterprise by the larger one by means of either giving a loan (including a commodity credit), or making a contribution to the authorized capital, or providing licenses, trade marks, equipment, premises etc. on the privileged terms or free of charge.

The administrative interaction means patronage of the small-sized enterprise by the larger firm. This can be expressed in assistance to get finances, in particular, provision of a pledge against the loan, in lobbying of the small-sized enterprise's interests before the government authorities and various institutions, as well as in management influence that the larger enterprise can brought upon the small-sized one due to financial or technological dependence.

The nature of cooperation between the small-sized and larger enterprises depends on combination of the used forms of their interaction (Picture 3):

continued;

periodic;

interim.

Analyzing the work of a number of the small-sized enterprises cooperating with a larger partner in creation of an innovative product or use of an innovative technology the authors singled out a few main factors, which, to this or that extent, directly affects the process of interaction between the partners:

Existing historical trends in the economic system in which the objects of the research (the enterprises-partners) act

In our view, the most significant historical factor is the process of privatization conducted by the Russian government, which has been conducive to further restructuring of the business, larger productive associations and manufacturing enterprises that resulted in appearance of a great number of independent small and medium-sized enterprises.

Economic conditions favorable for the partner's existing business

A favorable and stable environment for the business is conducive to gaining sufficient profit rate in order to introduce new innovative products and/or improve existing technologies at the production.

Growth of the innovative product market

The growth of the innovative product market is conducive to increasing the demand for additional production and sales capacities, which entails either arising of the need in partnership that resolves this problem or the necessity to enlarge the scope of cooperation with an existing partner.

Positive experience in cooperation

The positive experience in cooperation brings to prolongation of the relationship between the partners, furthers their stability and reliability, which allows using different and mutually beneficial contractual relations, such as the commodity credits or cash loans.

Picture 1. Positioning of the Forms of Interaction between the Small-sized and Larger Enterprises

Existing ownership relations

No ownership relations

Existing interaction in the process

No interaction in the process

Ownership relations LE (Founder, Supplier, Buyer) LE (Pounder) SE (founded SE (founded enterprise. enterprise) Suppler, Customer) LE (Supplier, \ / Customer) SE (Suppler, No interaction Customer) // Participation in creation / \ of an innovative product or use of an

innovative technology

Picture 2. Positioning of the Types of Interaction between the Small- sized and Larger Enterprises

No ownership relations Administrative,

Financial, Technological Interaction Administrative, Financial, interaction Technological interaction Ownership relations

Existing ownership relations

Participation in creation of an

innovative product or use of an

innovative technology

No interaction in the process

Existing interaction in the process

Table 1. Forms of Interaction Form of interaction Larger enterprise Small-sized enterprise 1st form Founder Founded enterprise 2nd form Lender Borrower 3rd form Supplier Customer 4th form Customer Supplier Picture 3. Type - Forms - Nature of Cooperation between the Small-sized and

Larger Enterprises

Forms of interaction Customer- Supplier Technological Administrative Financial Technological 9 Supplier- Customer Technological Administrative Financial Technological 9 Lender- Borrower Financial Administrative / Interim Periodic Interim Periodic Founder- Founded enterprise / Interim Periodic Continued Long-term Continued Long-term Founder- Founded enterprise Lender- Borrower Supplier- Customer Customer- Supplier Nature of cooperation

Results of cooperation

Interaction exercised by the small-sized and larger enterprises in the course of their innovative activities allows to combine the advantages and to level the shortages of the small and the large business. In the conditions of the market economy interaction between the enterprises is exercised on a voluntary and mutually beneficial basis, which brings to creation of a structure that allows performing successive innovative activities.

During the research we singled out a number of positive moments in uniting the large and the small business in order to make innovations:

The problem of the large enterprise management, which is expressed most often in a long period of making an agreement and taking decisions in respect of a new business, is resolved by means of cooperation or foundation of a small-sized enterprise that has flexibility in taking decisions and mobility in reaction to any changes in the external environment.

The result: a flexible, mobile structure on the basis of the small-sized enterprise.

The problem of the small-sized enterprise arising in the search for financial resources to master the innovative product or to expand the business is resolved by means of cooperation with a larger partner that has a successive experience in the work with financial institutions. The result: availability of the financial resources for the innovative small-sized enterprise.

The larger enterprises generate innovative ideas quite often, but they are short of, first of all, human and business resources to realize them. Such an idea may not be directly connected with the company's main business, and stand outside of its strategic interests. The business resources can be found in the sphere of the small business. In addition, this type of cooperation allows to divide the risks between the partners. Thus, the idea generated at the larger enterprise is realized by the efforts of the small-sized enterprise.

The result: the innovative idea is realized at the small-sized enterprise

It happens very often that due to the scale of their business the small-sized enterprises haven't got (have insufficient quantity of) production resources - capacities (research or sales resources), while the larger enterprises, for the historical reasons, have got excessive facilities (sales and research). Interaction between the small-sized and the larger enterprise in this case allows the former, which has no production facility of its own, to produce an innovative product (on agreement with the larger firm), and the latter, in its turn, to load its excessive production capacities.

The result: a single business process aimed to creation of an innovative product

By entering the market with a new product the small-sized enterprise faces the problem of the consumers' non-awareness of both a new trade mark of the product and its manufacturer. As a rule, the larger enterprises have been operating in the market for a long time and have either a well-known trade mark (or a number of them) or the manufacturer's name known to the consumers. The cooperation of the small-sized and the larger enterprise allow to use the existing and well-known trade marks for a new, in respect of the market, innovative product. The result: it becomes possible for the partners to expand their business and to enter new markets

Stimulation of innovative activities of the enterprises proposes to create the conditions, in which such activities will be profitable for them. The degree of profitability can be measured by various qualitative and quantitative indicators, among which the most demonstrative is net profit. Stimulation of cooperation between the small and the large business can be reached by taking efforts, mainly, on a governmental or macro level, since a mutual interest in cooperation between the small-sized and larger enterprises arises from influence of the market mechanisms and is explained by receiving mutually beneficial results. Stimulation may be directed to influence the external factors affecting the enterprise, such as:

government policy in support of the enterprises' innovative activities;

government provision of foreign investments in the innovative activities;

government policy in support of the small business;

setting up and development of regional innovative centers;

development of special credit and leasing programs for the innovative enterprises;

creation of conditions for development of the leasing companies, in particular, stimulation of their cooperation with the small-sized enterprises.

The programs aimed to stimulate cooperation between the small and the large business can be developed at both the federal and the regional level.

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Источник: ОУНЮА. Исследование взаимодействия малых и средних предприятий с крупными фирмами при осуществлении инноваций.Тасис. с.- 151. 2003

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