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Barriers to Adopting New Technologies within Rural Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)


  • Rosa Maria Fanelli

    (Department of Economics, University of Molise, 86100 Campobasso, Italy)


The adoption of technologies by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that operate in several business sectors in rural areas is a crucial issue because they often need financial and technical incentives and support from public and local authorities. The question of whether and how innovation can be replicated and applied in a wider context is strictly connected to the understanding of those factors and mechanisms capable of determining the success or failure of the introduction of innovation itself. In this paper, the attention is focused on the impact of new technologies in order to increase SMEs’ competitiveness and productivity among the firms. For this purpose, only recent resources, research and studies that have been implemented during the last twenty years are taken into account. Firstly, based on these studies, the main disruptive technologies were selected. Secondly, the evidence is drawn from stakeholder data discussions of the Interreg Europe project “Regional policies for innovation driven competitiveness and growth of rural SMEs—INNOGROW”, covering eight European countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom). Descriptive statistics were applied to describe the case identities. The cases’ needs, enablers and barriers in different groups were analyzed using a chi-square test and Mann–Whitney U Test. The results of this study are important for both researchers as well as small business practitioners (including government agencies and owners/managers) in order to provided policy recommendations, concerning how to establish favourable conditions and offer incentives to SMEs to integrate innovative solutions into their business models.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosa Maria Fanelli, 2021. "Barriers to Adopting New Technologies within Rural Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 10(11), pages 1-15, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jscscx:v:10:y:2021:i:11:p:430-:d:675178

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    2. Rosa Maria Fanelli, 2023. "Barriers and Drivers Underpinning Newcomers in Agriculture: Evidence from Italian Census Data," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(14), pages 1-17, July.
    3. Abdalwali Lutfi & Akif Lutfi Al-Khasawneh & Mohammed Amin Almaiah & Adi Alsyouf & Mahmaod Alrawad, 2022. "Business Sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of AIS Implementation," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(9), pages 1-20, April.
    4. Xiaoxue Du & Hernan Tejeda & Zhengliang Yang & Liang Lu, 2022. "A General-Equilibrium Model of Labor-Saving Technology Adoption: Theory and Evidences from Robotic Milking Systems in Idaho," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(13), pages 1-17, June.
    5. Thomä, Jörg, 2022. "An urban-rural divide (or not?): Small firm location and the use of digital technologies," ifh Working Papers 37/2022, Volkswirtschaftliches Institut für Mittelstand und Handwerk an der Universität Göttingen (ifh).
    6. Ramona Rupeika-Apoga & Kristine Petrovska, 2022. "Barriers to Sustainable Digital Transformation in Micro-, Small-, and Medium-Sized Enterprises," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(20), pages 1-19, October.
    7. Ramona Rupeika-Apoga & Larisa Bule & Kristine Petrovska, 2022. "Digital Transformation of Small and Medium Enterprises: Aspects of Public Support," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 15(2), pages 1-21, January.

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