GreenEcoNet pb2GreenEcoNet policy brief: SME networking for innovation

Policy Brief No. 2, by Erwin Hofman (JIN) and Chris Hopkins (GEC)

Following on from the first policy brief on circular economy, the GreenEcoNet team is proud to present policy brief No. 2 entitled 'Networking for SME innovation in a green economy'. This briefing is based on a literature review, conversations with GreenEcoNet SME networks, and analysis by our experts. It explores the importance of business networking in promoting innovation and argues that networking should been seen as an essential mechanism for improving SME innovation.

Download the policy brief here: pdfGreenEcoNet_Policy_Brief_No2_Networking_for_SME_innovation_in_a_green_economy.pdf488.64 KB

With an increasing importance placed on innovation and SMEs – and specifically on innovation within SMEs – networking among these small businesses is crucial. Business networking forms the basis of 21st century innovation processes, and for SMEs networking may be even more important due to limited internal resources for innovation. Networking allows the combination of innovation resources and ideas from several SMEs (and other organisations) in order to increase their collective innovative capacity, allowing each individual SMEs to benefit.

Main policy messages
  • Networking amongst businesses, and especially amongst SMEs, increases competitiveness as well as innovation. Networking is therefore an important tool in the transition towards a green economy.
  • A wide variety of business networks exists, ranging from local business clubs to large business federations as well as online networking platforms. These types of networks must be seen as complementary, as all types have their specific strengths.
  • Policies at all levels of government should aim to encourage networking amongst businesses, and especially amongst SMEs, in order to increase both (regional) competitiveness and innovative capacity, and therewith support the transition to a green economy.

For any further information on the briefing, please contact Erwin Hofman. Please refer to the GreenEcoNet website for more information about the GreenEcoNet project, and previous publications.