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Methodological challenges of measuring innovation activities of micro companies

Slavec, Ana; Burnard, Michael D.; Rovere, Barbara

Slovenia was identified as a region lagging in innovation and this is particularly noticeable in the country's forest-based value chain. However, Slovenia's Smart Specialisation Strategy identified this industry as having a strong potential for growth. To leverage the innovation and growth potential of the wood value chain we need to gain a deeper understanding of existing innovation activities and reasons for the lack of innovation activities.

While there is a large body of literature on innovation activities of small, medium, and large enterprises, there is very little known about micro companies (i.e., companies with less than 10 employees). This is probably due to the lack of data. On the EU level, data on innovation activities are collected by the Community Innovation Survey (CIS) which has been carried out every two years since 2006. However, the survey only includes companies with 10 or more employees.

Since micro companies represent more than 90% of wood value chain companies in Slovenia, data on their innovation activities is needed to fully understand it. Thus, we carried out our own survey on market and innovation activities of Slovenian companies in the wood value chain irrespective of size. The Bizi.si business directory was used as a sampling frame - given the small expected response rate we decided to include the full population. We developed a shorter questionnaire based on the CIS instrument and sent it to 7123 companies in the wood value chain, giving them an option to respond either on paper or online. For companies in the wood manufacturing and furniture sector we invested also in sending a second letter and we were able to reach a 7% response in these two sectors. We present the difference in responses between micro and other companies in the sample and then discuss the methodological challenges of surveying micro companies.

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