Towards evidence-based scale-up research and innovation policy

15 October 2019

Academic Director of Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship Justin Jansen and professor in Strategic Growth and Implementation Tom Mom at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, have been involved in the preparation of the annual report of the Dutch Committee for Entrepreneurship. The report was handed over to State Secretary Mona Keijzer of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate on October 8, in the presence of Queen Maxima. 

The annual report about the state of small and medium sized businesses is based on the most recent data from the Central Bureau of Statistics and provides more insight into the economic situation of the Netherlands. The annual report shows that a small group of front-runners do not only invest in the skills of their staff, but also invest in the renewal of management practices, product and process innovations, digitization and increasing sales opportunities.

Scale-up Research
Based on their research among fast-growing companies (scale-ups) in the Netherlands such as, Coolblue and YoungCapital, Justin Jansen and Tom Mom argue that the pursuit of new growth opportunities and the increase in the added value of SMEs, are mainly due to leadership skills and the quality of the management team. Another striking outcome, is that successful scale-ups do not focus on financial indicators. Instead they focus more on customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. In addition, it appears that successful scale-ups make their core values explicit at an early stage. They are often clear and inspiring values in which entrepreneurship, autonomy and solidarity are given space.

© Both photos by Eelkje Colmjon and Chris Sol

Challenges for the growth capacity
During the panel discussion with State Secretary Mona Keijzer, Prof. Jansen emphasized that there are two major challenges for the growth capacity of Dutch SMEs.

“First of all, we need to ensure that more companies from the pack, which are currently lagging behind in growth and productivity, are taking steps forward and being able to realize new opportunities for growth. In addition, it is important that we support growing companies in maintaining (rapid) growth. It turns out that two thirds of the (fast) growing companies in the Netherlands are losing their growth or even going bankrupt. That’s a shame. We must experiment with new policy instruments that can solve these challenges”.

“The contribution to the annual report is a good example of how we as RSM and the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship convert research into valuable recommendations for the government and thus contribute to the development of innovative policy,” said Professor Tom Mom. “In the coming years, we will continue to work with the Dutch Committee for Entrepreneurship and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate to strengthen the sustainable growth potential of SMEs.”

More information
Acknowledging the vitality for continuous growth, we drive innovation for corporate & entrepreneurial firms through research. As an initiative of the research institution Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship reflects the university’s long tradition of research on entrepreneurship. With 4 full professors and over 35 researchers focusing on topics such as scale-ups, open innovation and entrepreneurial leadership, we provide practical insights on how entrepreneurship could be better embedded in your organisation to innovate faster.

For more information about our scale-up research, visit the scale-up research webpage.

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