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Financing Patterns of Innovative SMEs and the Perception of Innovation Barriers in Germany


  • Heike Belitz
  • Anna Lejpras


We analyze the role of public support in the financing pattern of R&D in German SMEs and their assessment of financing conditions in the context of other framework conditions for innovation. In Germany, there is a diversity of overall well-funded technology-neutral and technology-specific programs providing grants to R&D and innovation projects. Different types of SMEs access public funding for R&D and innovation activities to varying degrees. Using an extensive sample of 2,700 German SMEs that participated in public R&D promotion programs during the 2005-2010 period, we identify four groups of companies with different patterns of public and private sources of R&D finance, such as own capital, grants, private and subsidized loans. The firms in our sample are generally positive about public financing of R&D in Germany in 2010. Despite the different funding patterns, we find only slight variations in this assessment across the four groups of subsidized SMEs. Nevertheless, medium-sized R&D companies (often with external equity investment) that have to finance the market introduction of innovations without a track record, appear to suffer from deficiencies in the provision of loans. Further, the companies perceive obstacles to innovation primarily in the non-financial sphere, namely the supply of skilled personnel, market regulation and competition conditions. Therefore, future work on innovation policies for SMEs should put greater emphasis on the non-financial external framework conditions for firm R&D and innovative activities.

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  • Heike Belitz & Anna Lejpras, 2014. "Financing Patterns of Innovative SMEs and the Perception of Innovation Barriers in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1353, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1353

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rehman, Naqeeb Ur, 2016. "Innovation Performance of Chilean SMEs: A Bivariate Probit Analysis," MPRA Paper 68827, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Irene Fafaliou & Marinos Stefanitsis & Aelita Skarzauskiene, 2014. "The Propensity of SMEs to Innovate: A Cross – Country Outlook," SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, University of Piraeus, vol. 64(3), pages 94-115, July-Sept.
    3. Horbach, Jens, 2016. "The impact of resource efficiency measures on performance in small and medium-sized enterprises," Ruhr Economic Papers 643, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

    More about this item


    R&D promotion; financing of R&D; small and medium sized enterprises; barriers to innovation;

    JEL classification:

    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

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