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SME Information Sourcing for Innovation and Export Market Development: From Local or External Networks?

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    Abstract

    A survey analysis of innovation information and input sourcing of New South Wales regional exporting firms indicates that the majority of regional exporters were small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The analysis shows that these SMEs have been able to establish their own extensive information linkages into the international economy. Consequently, the need to assess and develop the benefits of linkages between small and large firms is not highly significant within the New South Wales regions. The analysis indicates that international networking by SMEs brings knowledge to the regions, which facilitates intra-firm learning. However, it suggests that SME’s local or regional linkages are relatively underdeveloped, as a source of new knowledge for innovation activity. This is in contrast to the main body of economic literature, which argues that small regional exporters utilize local networks as a major input into their success. This research identifies intensification in the usage of regional networks as one means of improving SME performance in more remote regions. The analysis also indicates that a two-way effect results by the diversity of regional SME export sector base. Firstly, it restricts the client-supplier relationships preventing closer industry specific collaborations but secondly, it can be advantageous in that it restricts competition between regional exporters. This creates conditions allowing some information sharing regarding the opportunities and ways of entering overseas markets, which do not affect the competitive position of the mentoring firm. In concluding, the paper argues that the basic requirements for regional learning development are in place but requires an increase in the interaction intensity between local SMEs in order to achieve a higher level of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

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    File URL: http://www.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@commerce/@econ/documents/doc/uow012127.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia in its series Economics Working Papers with number wp02-08.

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    Length: 25 pages
    Date of creation: 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:uow:depec1:wp02-08

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    Postal: School of Economics, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia
    Phone: +612 4221-3659
    Fax: +612 4221-3725
    Web page: http://business.uow.edu.au/econ/index.html
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    Keywords: New South Wales; SMEs; small and medium enterprises; regional development; innovation; international networking;

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    References

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    1. Bengt-ake Lundvall & Bjorn Johnson, 1994. "The Learning Economy," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 23-42.
    2. Freeman, C., 1991. "Networks of innovators: A synthesis of research issues," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 499-514, October.
    3. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
    4. Denis MAILLAT, 1998. "From the industrial district to the innovative milieu : Contribution to an analysis of territorialised productive organisations," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1998017, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B, 1988. "Innovation in Large and Small Firms: An Empirical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 678-90, September.
    6. Acs, Zoltan J. & Audretsch, David B., 1987. "Innovation in large and small firms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 109-112.
    7. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1992. "Real Effects of Academic Research: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 363-67, March.
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