Workshop on “the Effect of Entrepreneurship Strategies on the Development of SMEs
The workshop has been devised according to the resolution of the 34th Session of the COMCEC held on Nov. 26th-29th 2018 in Istanbul, and in the framework of ICRIC project “ONSA” aiming to educate the audiences how to efficiently benefit from their potentials and facilities as well as offering some essential guides for boosting their business. Top Iranian and Turkish professors delivered speeches from SESRIC, the Faculty of Entrepreneurship at the Tehran University, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization of Turkey (KOSGEB), and the Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF), The International Small Enterprise Promotion and Training (SEPT) Department of Leipzig University, and Iran Women Entrepreneurs Association.
Dr. Karbasi, the ICRIC Director General and the Deputy of International Affairs at ICCIMA started the session by welcoming the guests. Then-after, he emphasized on the crucial role of entrepreneurship and SMEs and introduced the entrepreneurship strategies as the continuity and stability requirement of the SMEs development. He focused on entrepreneurship strategies as the growth and prosperity engine of organizations and societies as well as their being a threat and opportunity detector tool for benefitting from novel products and techniques. Dr. Karbasi announced that the entrepreneurs'’ tendency toward the immoral rents is the main reason for the failures of entrepreneurship in organizations. He suggested a thorough study of entrepreneurship tendencies, the governmental support for the entrepreneurs, and the prohibition of the aforementioned rents as the solutions for having an effective approach of entrepreneurship.
Dr. Ansari, Leipzig University professor, gave a presentation on designing and implementing innovative strategies in SMEs. He enumerated the factors for the strategy design, strategy management, and strategy implementation as well as some other factors for the betterment and success of innovation in SMEs. He mentioned that re-formational and innovational changes in an organization are more important than the change in the design of the product. He provided miscellaneous examples on the aforementioned thesis. Finally, he offered to have the premier companies as the role model for customization as one of the vital developing factors with respect to entrepreneurship.
Dr. Halit, the president of International Affairs at the ICYF, initially presented the Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum formed in 2004. ICYF aims to assist participants in reinforcing and developing their cooperation and relations by improving the quality of manpower, training to strengthen the cultural cooperation to realize short-term programs and make sure they transfer the knowledge that they have acquired when they return to their communities. Training potential entrepreneurs and skilled workforce who will contribute to development process of their own country and region, meeting the needs of qualified people who will support projects and investments of local firms and NGOs in the target countries, running a website and online startups for the facilitation of the entrepreneurs' activities and creating a financial and technical committee for the innovative projects stand among the other objectives of ICYF.
Ms. Moghimi, the president of the Iran Women Entrepreneurs Association delivered a presentation on the women entrepreneurship. She accentuated the role of women in the development of the countries' economic activities and output. She emphasized that women, in order to be active and play their role in the development of their countries, require their family and governmental support besides mentioning that the culture of societies need to be oriented from sexism and patriarchy toward the equality between the genders and positivism and belief in the women power in economic fields. Women need to be empowered and believed. Therefore, some supporting laws and regulations for women need to be enforced. Eventually, the First Women Bank of Pakistan giving loan to entrepreneur women was given as an example of a successful project in support of women.
On the second day, the workshop resumed by the speeches as follows:
Dr. Selim Baktır, Senior SMEs Specialist at International Relations Office of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization of Turkey (KOSGEB) introduced the supporting initiative in their organization designated for the small and medium-sized enterprise. They also provide special service for women entrepreneurs. He explained fully the method of examination of a company to check their eligibility to receive financial support. If any company could win the stipulations required for being awarded the support, it will be granted for 30% of the total value of its initiative and one year later in the case of successful progress, the remaining amount will be granted as well. He also described other supporting plans provided by his origination for SMEs completely, which is inclusive of consulting service, employment service, preparing the business plan, introducing the SMEs to the banks to get loans, supporting industrial initiatives, manufacturing supports, etc. One of the remarkable services provided by this organization is the data bank of traders and manufacturers in the country, in this way, any individual from any country could search for the proper trading partner or find out the necessity of the demanded products for import or export.
In the next, Dr. Hadi Farahzadi, professor at the Faculty of Entrepreneurship at the Tehran University delivered his speech on the challenges of human resource development in the SMEs. He added that human resource management should be noted as a comprehensive approach encompassing all the processes of a company. Then he continued with levels of human resource management in an organization. He suggested some techniques for recruitment, management of organization culture, management of work force’s skills, leadership, training a substitution for the manager, motivations, and etc. he urged on the importance of personality of a person rather than his technical competencies. On his perspective, the compatibility of personality with the organization objectives should be considered as the first priority in recruitment.
For the next session, Dr. Narges Imanipour, professor at the Faculty of Entrepreneurship at the Tehran University embarked her speech with the turnaround and innovation strategies for SMEs. In a complicated situation of the market, SMEs with limited technical and financial abilities are too weak to struggle the instable environment and lose their competition power, then for such SMEs, there are some strategies to combat and survive. Acceding to the statistics published by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 55% of all failures in SMEs back to their financial inability and non-profitable function. It shows that SMEs have a serious problem in solving internal and external challenges. In such a situation, a practical way to flee of bankruptcy is to apply the turnaround strategies, for example, reducing the costs and increasing the efficiency of the enterprise, focusing on key activities of the enterprise, etc. the role of the manager as a leader is very significant. Meanwhile, the organizational culture will support the plans to return and prevent failure. Innovative strategies could take the company out of the crisis with making value for customers and improvement of distribution channels and reforming the part of customer communication. She brought out some practical experience of innovative strategies and described the different aspects of it such as innovation in the expansion of a current product or making a new one, innovation in the management process, expanding the key partners, branding, etc.
Dr. Ali Davari, professor at the Faculty of Entrepreneurship at the Tehran University in the next session, clarified the role of policies and rules in small and medium-sized businesses in different countries, and mostly in Iran. The differences in supporting regulations and policies between Islamic countries and advanced countries are too much. Corruption and economic rent hinder the trend of transferring the supporting financial resources to the right companies. The government should run some plans to assist the SMEs and make some incentive programs in order to get them to enter the risky space and empower them by the availability of sources of knowledge and consultation services.
Dr. Türbedar, Senior Researcher at SESRIC compared the entrepreneurship and SMEs statistics in Islamic countries with non-Islamic countries and pointed out the gap between Islamic countries and others in advanced and developing countries. Nevertheless, there is very considerable progress in some countries in OIC, for example, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, and Qatar. In addition, the number of formal micro companies in OIC countries is very lower than the average of global and developed countries. It indicates that the fundamental ground for making business is not suitable and the environment is of high risks. He enumerated the top obstacle of establishing a new business in OIC countries as the shortage of infrastructures, political instability, absence of required financial resources, informal economy, high tax rates, and etc. However, the index score of ease of doing business in OIC countries has improved in 2017 in comparison with 2005, but it still needs hard working. At the end of his speech, he stressed on innovative financing which is a very faster, cheaper and quicker way of doing business, particularly in e-commerce, which will be the essence of businesses in the future.
At the end, the attendees were awarded certificates and the summary of presentations forwarded to their e-mail.