Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Evidence in Colombian SMEs

Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Evidence in Colombian SMEs

Julia Clemencia Naranjo-Valencia (Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Manizales, Colombia), Gregorio Calderón-Hernández (Universidad de Manizales, Colombia), Daniel Jiménez-Jiménez (Universidad de Murcia, Spain) and Raquel Sanz-Valle (Universidad de Murcia, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3543-0.ch014


In the current economic landscape, the importance of innovation for the competitiveness of companies is increasingly recognized. The literature points to entrepreneurship as an important source of innovation. Although it is considered that the entrepreneurial orientation affects the results of the innovation, the empirical evidence in a country like Colombia, which today has as policy priority to stimulate both entrepreneurship and innovation, is practically null. In this chapter, the authors study this relationship in the context of a sample of SMEs through a linear regression analysis. The results indicate, as predicted, that to the extent that there is greater innovation, proactivity, and risk orientation, the better the results of innovation.
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The capacity of organizations to innovate has become a key factor in business performance, in terms of profitability, growth, participation in the market, and improvement of competitive advantages (Keupp, Palmié & Gassmann, 2012; García, 2016). This relationship between innovation and business performance is evident in the specialized literature, and carries special significance for SMEs (Wang, 2014; Lecerf, 2012; Arshad, 2016).

Despite the importance that innovation represents for companies and countries, in Colombia, innovation is still an underutilized strategy, in comparison to other countries (Gómez & Mitchell, 2014). Data from the “Encuesta de Desarrollo Tecnológico e Innovación EDIT1VII”, which was carried out by the DANE2 (2014) support this statement with their conclusion that 58% of Colombian companies are considered not to be innovative. It should be emphasized that the results of Córdoba-Vega & Naranjo-Valencia (2017), based on EDIT (2017) data, derived from study of the relationship between innovation investment and innovative results, reveal that the only significant relationship found was in the case of medium-size companies.

One of the determining factors of innovative capacity in businesses is entrepreneurship (Ejdys, 2016; Zaho, 2005; Hult, Hurley & Knight, 2004). Schumpeter (1934) recognizes the important role of the entrepreneur in the economy, and lists them as the principal motor of economic development, assigning them the function of changing the economic equilibrium through innovations introduced into the market, thus permitting economic movement. Trujillo-Henao (2015), in keeping with Brem (2011) and Pereira (2012), notes that there is an inextricable link between the entrepreneurship and innovation concepts. On one side, there are those who believe that all innovation necessitates entrepreneurship in uncharted terrain, encouraged by opportunities, but restricted by risks. Others consider that constant innovation is the distinctive quality of the entrepreneur.

Although, in Colombia in general, there are few studies regarding entrepreneurship activity and the socioeconomic dynamic (Álvarez & Burbano, 2011; Aparicio, Urbano & Gómez, 2016), results of studies performed in this context highlight the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship for economic growth and long-term national development (Ács, Autio & Szerb, 2014; Aparicio, Ramírez Hassan & Gómez Sánchez, 2013; Aparicio, Urbano & Audretsch, 2016; Urbano & Aparicio, 2016). Specifically, Aparicio, Urbano y Gómez (2016) suggest that the best scenario for long-term Colombian economic growth is through a growing number of innovative businesspeople.

There are various approaches to the understanding of entrepreneurship. One perspective is considered from the individual point of view, (Reynolds, Hay & Camp, 1999), and is accepted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)3, which defines it as “any attempt at new business or new venture creation, such as self-employment, a new business organization, or the expansion of an existing business, by an individual, a team of individuals, or an established business.”

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