L’innovazione nelle piccole e medie imprese agroalimentari della Regione Campania (Innovation capacity of agri-food small and medium enterprises of the Campania region)

  • Marcella De Martino
  • Fabio Magnotti
  • Lodovico Santoro
Keywords: small and medium enterprises, SME, innovation capacity, agri-food chain


Purpose of the paper: The purpose of this paper is to analyse the impact of some drivers - both internal (n. employees, revenue, competences, investment in R&D) and external (collaboration, information sources, public funding) - on the development of innovation activities in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Methodology: Based on a theoretical framework derived from the literature, it has been conducted an empirical analysis involving 122 agri-food SMEs of the Campania Region that belong to the grain-pasta, olive-oil, dairy and wine supply chains. The data has been elaborated through the cluster analysis technique in order to explore any meaningful patterns that may exist in terms of the innovation capacity.

Results: Three clusters with different innovation modes have been identified: Innovative and collaborative (IC); Innovative and non-collaborative (INC); Noninnovative (NI). The analysis reveals that the main discriminating factors of the innovative capacity are the collaboration with different local stakeholders the access to information sources and the ability to obtain public funding for innovation.

Research limits: A longitudinal analysis of some best practices of innovative SMEs could offer a better understanding of the relationships between some drivers and the results of the innovation. Other limits is the lack of the analysis of characteristics of the entrepreneur as the main dynamic actors of the business ri-organizational process.

Practical implications: The dissemination of “best practices” can promote the adoption of collaborative practices by SMEs of the others two clusters INC and NI, given the fact that these usually innovate by imitation.

Originality of the paper: This is the first quantitative study focusing on the innovation capacity of agri-food SMEs in the Campania Region. The study specifically highlights the existence of some innovative SMEs that generally are overlooked by national and European statistical surveys.


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