Category Archives: SMEs

RESEARCH: The Small Business Owner-Managers’ Attitudes toward Digital Media

An Excerpt from my latest paper: Camilleri, M.A. (2018). The SMEs’ Technology Acceptance of Digital Media for Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development (Forthcoming).


small-businesses-social-media

This contribution sheds light on the SME owner-managers’ attitudes toward the pace of technological innovation, perceived use and ease of use of digital media; as they communicate and interact with interested stakeholders online. It also explored their stance on responsible entrepreneurship, specifically on commercial, ethical and social responsibilities, as well as on their willingness to support other responsible stakeholders.

This empirical study and its theoretical underpinnings contribute to an improved understanding as to why today’s SMEs are expected to communicate with stakeholders through digital media. At the same time, it raises awareness of responsible entrepreneurial initiatives that could be promoted through digital media, including; corporate websites, social media and blogs, among others.

Generally, the results reported that there were high mean scores and low standard deviations, particularly when the participants were expected to indicate their attitudes on their commercial and ethical responsibilities. The nature of the SMEs’ CSR activities is usually integrated into their company culture, often implicitly in habits and routines that are inspired by highly motivated owner-managers; rather than explicitly in job descriptions or formalized procedures (Jenkins, 2006). The factor analysis indicated that the SME owner-managers were increasingly perceiving the usefulness of digital media to engage with marketplace stakeholders, including; consumers, suppliers and other businesses, as they promoted their responsible entrepreneurship behaviors.

The communications on their businesses’ social responsibility and environmentally-sound practices also served them well to engage with other interested groups; including; human resources, shareholders and investors, among others. This finding mirrors Baumann Pauly et al.’s (2013) argumentation as these authors remarked that each business decision on economic, social, and environmental aspects must take into account all stakeholders. Notwithstanding, the businesses and their marketers need to possess relevant knowledge on their stakeholders, as this will impact on the effectiveness of their CSR communication (Morsing and Schultz, 2006; Vorvoreanu, 2009).

The value of their communications lies in their ability to open-up lines of dialogue through stories and ideas that reflect their stakeholders’ interests (Fieseler and Fleck, 2013; Moreno and Capriotti, 2009). For these reasons, companies cannot afford to overstate or misrepresent their CSR communications. Their online communication with stakeholders could foster positive behaviors or compel remedial actions, and will pay off in terms of corporate reputation, customer loyalty and market standing (Tantalo and Priem, 2016; Du et al, 2010).

This study suggests that the SME owner-managers were recognizing that they had to keep up with the pace of technological innovation. Yet there were a few participants, particularly the older ones, who were still apprehensive toward the use of digital media. Eventually, these respondents should realize that it is in their interest to forge relationships with key stakeholders (Lamberton and Stephen, 2016; Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Rauniar et al., 2014; Uhlaner et al., 2004). This research posits that the owner-managers or their members of staff should possess relevant digital skills and competences to communicate online with interested parties.

Likewise, Baumann Pauly et al., (2013) also recommended that the managers must be trained, and that their CSR activities must be evaluated. These findings are in line with other contributions (Spence and Perrini, 2011; Perrini et al., 2007) that have theoretically or anecdotally challenged the business case perspective for societal engagement (Penwar et al., 2017; Baden and Harwood 2013; Brammer et al. 2012).

The regression analysis has identified and analyzed the determinants which explain the rationale behind the SME owner-managers’ utilization of digital media for stakeholder engagement and for the promotion of responsible entrepreneurship. It reported that the respondents’ technology acceptance depended on their perceived “use” and “ease of use” of digital media; and on their willingness to communicate online on their commercial, ethical and social responsibilities.

The results from the regression analysis reported positive and significant relationships between the SMEs’ online stakeholder engagement and the pace of technological innovation; and between the SMEs’ online engagement and the owner-managers’ perceived usefulness of digital media. This study indicated that the pace of technological innovation, the owner-managers’ perceived ease of use of the digital media, as well as their commercial responsibility were significant antecedents for their businesses’ online communication of their responsible behaviors. Arguably, the use of technology is facilitated when individuals will perceive its usefulness and its ease of use (Davis, 1989).

In fact, the findings from this research have specified that the owner-managers’ intention was to use digital media to communicate about their responsible entrepreneurship. They also indicated their desire to use this innovation to engage with stakeholders on other topics, including commercial and ethical issues. This is in stark contrast with Penwar et al.’s (2017) findings, as the authors contended that the SME owner-managers’ perceptions on social engagement did not hold the same virility when compared to the context of their larger counterparts. These authors argued that the tangible benefits of CSR engagement had no effect on SMEs. In a similar vein, Baumann Pauly et al.’s (2013) study reported that the larger businesses were more effective than SMEs in their CSR communications.

However, the findings from this study’s second, third and fourth regression
equations indicated that the small and micro businesses were using digital media to improve their stakeholder engagement and to communicate about their responsible entrepreneurship issues.

Implications and Conclusions

SME managers and executives are in a position to enhance the effectiveness of their businesses’ communication efforts. This study has identified and analyzed the SME owner-managers’ attitudes toward the utilization of digital media for the communication of commercial, ethical and social responsibility issues.

Previous academic research has paid limited attention to the technology acceptance of digital media among small businesses, albeit a few exceptions (Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Baumann Pauly, Wickert, Spence and Scherer, 2013; Durkin et al., 2013; Taylor and Murphy, 2004). In this case, the research findings indicated that digital technologies and applications were perceived as useful by the SME owner-managers. This implies that the utilization of digital media can be viewed as a critical success factor that may lead to an improved engagement with stakeholders.

Several SMEs are already communicating about their responsible entrepreneurship through conventional and interactive media, including; social media, review sites, blogs, et cetera. These savvy businesses are leveraging their communications as they utilize digital media outlets (e.g., The Guardian Sustainability Blog, CSRwire, Triple Pundit and The CSR Blog in Forbes among others) to improve their reach, frequency and impact of their message.

In addition, there are instances where consumers themselves, out of their own volition are becoming ambassadors of trustworthy businesses on digital media (Du et al., 2010). Whilst other stakeholders may perceive these businesses’ posturing behaviors and greenwashing (Camilleri, 2017; Vorvoreanu, 2009).

A thorough literature review suggested that the positive word-of-mouth publicity through digital media may lead to strategic and financial benefits (Camilleri, 2017; Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Durkin et al., 2013). Therefore, businesses, including SMEs, are increasingly joining conversations in social media networks and online review sites. These sites are being used by millions of users every day. Indeed, there is potential for SMEs to engage with their prospects and web visitors in real-time.

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Filed under Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, digital media, Marketing, Small Business, SMEs, Stakeholder Engagement

Emerald’s must-read textbook for tourism students and practitioners

“Tourism Planning and Destination Marketing” was recently edited by Dr. Mark Anthony Camilleri, Ph.D. (Edinburgh).

This publication is written in an engaging style to entice the curiosity of its readers. It presents all the theory and the empirical studies in a simple and straightforward manner. It reports on the global tourism marketing environments that comprise a wide array of economic, socio-cultural and environmental issues. It also explains how ongoing advances in technology are bringing interesting developments in the tourism industry and its marketing mix.

This authoritative book provides theoretical and empirical insights on different tourism topics, including; destination marketing and branding, sustainable and responsible tourism, tourism technologies, digital marketing, travel distribution and more. It is also relevant to the industry practitioners, including consultants, senior executives and managers who work for destination management organisations, tourism offices, hotels, inbound / outbound tour operators and travel agents, among others.


Preface

The marketing of a destination relies on planning, organisation and the successful execution of strategies and tactics. Therefore, this authoritative book provides students and practitioners with relevant knowledge of tourism planning and destination marketing. The readers of this publication are equipped with a strong pedagogical base as they are presented conceptual discussions as well as empirical studies on different aspects of the travel and tourism industries.

The readers of this book will acquire a good understanding of the tourism marketing environment, destination branding, distribution channels, etourism, as well as relevant details on sustainable and responsible tourism practices, among other topics. They will appreciate that the tourism marketers, including destination management organisations (DMOs) are increasingly using innovative tools, including; digital media and ubiquitous technologies to engage with prospective visitors. Hence, this book also sheds light on contemporary developments in travel, tourism, hospitality, festivals and events.

Chapter 1 introduces the readers to the tourism concept as it describes the travel facilitators and motivators. Afterwards, it explains several aspects of the tourism product, including; the visitors’ accessibility, accommodation, attractions, activities and amenities. It categorises different travel markets; including; adventure tourism, business tourism (including meetings, incentives, conferences and events), culinary tourism, cultural (or heritage) tourism, eco-tourism (or sustainable tourism), educational tourism, health (or medical tourism), religious tourism, rural tourism, seaside tourism, sports tourism, urban (or city) tourism, wine tourism, among other niche areas.

Chapter 2 offers a critical review and analysis of relevant literature on the tourism product’s experiential perspective. The authors suggest that the customers’ experience is affected by cognitive, emotional, relational and sensorial aspects.

Chapter 3 examines Plog’s model of venturesomeness. The author provides a thorough review of 26 studies that have adopted this behavioural model. He maintains that this model could be used to identify the travellers’ psychographic characteristics as he correlates them with the destinations they visit.

Chapter 4 focuses on the coopetition features of tourism destinations. The author held that (competing) tourism service providers, including destination marketing organisations often cooperate to deliver positive customer experiences. In addition, he explained how seasonality and colocation issues can influence specific features of coopetition and collaborative practices in tourism destinations.

Chapter 5 explored the residents’ attitudes towards incoming tourism at Punta del Este, Uruguay. The authors suggest that the respondents were perceiving economic benefits from increased tourism figures. However, the same respondents indicated that they were aware about the socio-cultural costs of tourism.

Chapter 6 appraises the notions of sustainable and responsible tourism. It traces the origins of the concept of sustainable development and includes a critical review of key theoretical underpinnings. The author provides relevant examples of the social, environmental and economic impacts of tourism in vulnerable or sensitive climates.

Chapter 7 investigates the tourists’ experiences of Japan’s Tateyama and Hirakawa rural areas. The author suggests that the tourists’ experience of rural tourism has led them to appreciate the Japanese culture.

Chapter 8 sheds light on the eco-tourism concept. Following a thorough literature review, the authors imply that the service providers ought to identify their visitors’ motivation for eco-tourism destinations.

Chapter 9 clarifies how emerging technologies, including; augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are being used in the travel and tourism industries. The authors introduce the readers to the term, “phygital” as they argue that the tourists are seeking physical and virtual experiences. They suggest that AR and VR have the power to blend together the individuals’ perception of real and virtual spaces.

Chapter 10 explains the importance of organising events for destination marketing. The authors suggest that festivals and events can create a positive image of a destination. The destinations’ ongoing activities may lead to economic benefits to tourism operators as well as to the community, at large.

Chapter 11 posits that the destinations marketers ought to formulate their strategies prior to the planning and organising of events. The author contends that the effective management of events relies on stakeholder engagement, attracting sponsorships and the use of interactive media.

Chapter 12 describes Smart Tourism Local Service Systems (S-TLSS) that are intended to facilitate the engagement among various stakeholders. The authors suggest that S-TLSS supports the tourism planning and destination marketing in Caserta, Italy.

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Filed under Airlines, Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, destination marketing, digital media, responsible tourism, SMEs, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability, tourism, Travel

Mark Camilleri edited a book on sustainable and responsible business

Dr Mark Anthony Camilleri, Ph.D. (Edinburgh) has recently edited a business textbook entitled; ‘CSR 2.0 and the New Era of Corporate Citizenship’.
csr
This contribution is an authoritative reference source (for the latest scholarly research) on the ways in which corporate entities can implement responsible strategies that create synergistic value for both businesses and society. The authors (hailing from leading European universities) contend that responsible behaviors in the realm of business continue to remain a crucial component of organizational development.
By exploring core aspects of contemporary corporate strategies, businesses can create more value through social welfare and sustainable initiatives. This publication features an extensive coverage across a wide range of perspectives and topics, including corporate citizenship, corporate sustainability and responsibility, stakeholder engagement, business ethics, public spending, total responsibility management and social value co-creation, among others.
This publication is ideally designed for students, academics and researchers seeking current concise and authoritative research on the business case for corporate social responsibility.

Chapter 1 presents a thorough literature review on corporate social responsibility and its other related constructs, including corporate citizenship, stakeholder engagement and business ethics. Hence, this chapter reports on how CSR has evolved to reflect the societal realities.

Chapter 2 reviews the different definitions of the corporate responsibility paradigms and draws comparisons between related concepts. The author contends that organization studies; economic, institutional, cultural and cognitive perspectives are shaping the corporate responsibility agenda. She cleverly presents the benefits of integrating multiple perspectives and discusses about the possible research avenues in the realms of corporate responsibility.

Chapter 3 suggests that the field of CSR is ushering a new era in the relationship between business and society. The author puts forward a Total Responsibility Management (TRM) approach that may be useful for business practitioners who intend adopting CSR behaviors. This chapter posits that CSR strategies including managing relationship with stakeholders will contribute to the companies´success and will also bring community welfare.

Chapter 4 focuses on the national governments’ regulatory role of raising awareness on CSR behaviors among businesses. The author suggests that there is scope for the state agencies to promote CSR as a business case for companies. She provides an outline of the current state of “supranational regulative policies on public procurement” within the European Union context.

Chapter 5 uses a stakeholder perspective to encapsulate the CSR concept. The authors investigated social value cocreation (SVCC) through a qualitative study among different stakeholders (customers, employees, and managers). They implied that businesses ought to clarify their motives, by opening channels of communication with stakeholders. This way, there will be a higher level of SVCC with increased (stakeholder) loyalty toward the firms.

Chapter 6 sheds light on Porter and Kramer’s (2011) shared value proposition. The author explains how collaborative stakeholder interactions could lead to significant improvements in the supply chain.

Chapter 7 involved a longitudinal study that investigated how four different State Owned Enterprises communicated with Māori communities between 2008 and 2013. This study contributes to the extant research on the legitimacy theory and CSR communication with ethnic minorities in the Aotearoa (New Zealand) context.

Chapter 8 links the CSR paradigm with risk management. The author suggests that Serbian businesses ought to adopt corporate sustainable and responsible approaches in terms of their disaster risk reduction prior to environmental emergencies.

Chapter 9 involved a quantitative analysis that explored the CSR practices within the hospitality industry. The authors suggested that there were distinct social and environmentally responsible behaviors in different geographical areas. They argued that institutions can take their results into account when drawing up policies that are aimed at fostering responsible tourism practices.

Chapter 10 examined how CSR communication of self-serving motives can lead to more trust and credibility among stakeholders as well as corporate reputation. The authors implied that the marketers should be aware of how the public perceive CSR behaviors.

Chapter 11 reports that corporate (or organizational) storytelling is increasingly being used as a promotional tool to communicate CSR information to stakeholders. The authors present four companies that have used storytelling with the aims of transmitting values, fostering collaboration, leading change and sharing knowledge on responsible practices.

Chapter 12 relates corporate sustainability to the construct of emotional capital. The authors maintain that emotional capital enables businesses to attract and retain talent. They maintain that there are significant improvements to the firms’ bottom lines If they invest in responsible human resources management.

Chapter13 suggests that the transition from the CSR to CSR 2.0 requires the adoption of five new principles – creativity, scalability, responsiveness, glocality and circularity. The authors posit that these principles ought to be embedded within the organizations’ management values and culture. The authors propose a new framework that can be used to manage the processes of socially responsible organizations.

Chapter 14 investigated the banks’ behaviors during the economic crisis in Turkey. The authors reported on the bank’s CSR strategies as they supported small and medium sized enterprises, as well as local communities during the financial turmoil.

Chapter 15 offers insights on sustainable tourism as the authors investigated the constraints that explain why an attitude–behavior gap exists in responsible tourists’ behaviors.

Chapter 16 examines three leading networks that are intended to promote corporate sustainability and responsibility. The author explores their growing influence as he reviews their objectives, organizational structures, types of activities, practices and impacts.

Further details on this contribution is available here: http://www.igi-global.com/book/csr-new-era-corporate-citizenship/166426


About the Editor:

Dr. Mark Anthony Camilleri is a resident academic in the Department of Corporate Communication at the University of Malta. He specializes in strategic management, stakeholder engagement, corporate social responsibility and sustainable business. Mark successfully finalized his PhD (Management) in three years’ time at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland – where he was nominated for his “Excellence in Teaching”. During the past years, Mark taught business subjects at under-graduate, vocational and post-graduate levels in Hong Kong, Malta and the UK.

Dr Camilleri has published his research in peer-reviewed journals, chapters and conference proceedings. He is also a member on the editorial board of Springer’s International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility and a member of the academic advisory committee in the Global Corporate Governance Institute (USA). Mark is a frequent speaker and reviewer at the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) Marketing & Public Policy conference and in the Academy of Management’s (AoM) Annual Meeting.

The Authors’ Biographies

Ozan Nadir ALAKAVUKLAR is a lecturer in management at Massey University School of Management. His research interests are based on sustainability, community organizing and social movements.

Marcello ATZENI received his PhD at the University of Cagliari. His research interests are related to tourism authenticity and consumer behavior.

Elisa BARAIBAR DIEZ is a Lecturer in Business Administration at the University of Cantabria. Her fields of research are corporate transparency, CSR, corporate governance and reputation. She focuses on transparency and its effects not only in a business context but also in other contexts such as universities.

Jesús BARRENA MARTINEZ is an Assistant Professor postdoctoral in the Department of Business Management at the University of Cadiz. He has a PhD in the field of Economics and Business Management. His teaching and research interests include Human Resource Management, Corporate Social Responsibility and Intellectual Capital. He has presented papers at international and national conferences and published in journals such as Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development, Journal of Human Values, Tourism and Management Studies and Intangible Capital.

Roland BERBERICH is Independent researcher in Project Management with additional MRes degree from Heriot Watt University. He has acquired more than 10 years of project experience.

Claudiu George BOCEAN is Associate Professor at and PhD supervisor Faculty of Economics and Business Administration within University of Craiova. In 2000, graduated Bachelor Degree, major in Accountancy and Informatics, Faculty of Economics, University of Craiova, Romania. In 2004, graduated Master program in Business Administration, Faculty of Economics, University of Craiova, Romania. In 2007, PhD in Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Craiova, Romania. In 2015, Habilitation title in Management, Academy of Economic Sciences Bucharest, Romania. Since 2002 – present, teaching and researching in Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Craiova on topics such as Human Resource Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, Organization Theory, Business Economics, and co-operating within projects with national and international universities and organizations.

Michael Devereux obtained both Master in Business Administration (MBA) from University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Master in International Business from Universitat de Valencia. Prior to graduate school, he gained a Bachelor in Economics and Geography focusing on international economics and Central/South America from Weber State University. Additionally, he has studied in Costa Rica, and in Guatemala participating in a microfinance and economic development project for indigenous women in Guatemala. His current interests are focused on international affairs, humanitarian components, health and well-being, economic development, community engagement, energy and environmental sustainability.

José Ignacio ELICEGUI REYES is Graduate in Management Business Administration and Business Sciences, as well as he has studied a Masters in Human Resource Management at the University of Cadiz. Currently, he is studying a Masters in Teacher Training in Secondary Schools and High Schools, Vocational Training and Language Training for the specialty of Business Administration at the University of Cadiz. Also, he is developing his PhD in the Human Resource Management field.

Martina G. GALLARZA lectures in the Marketing Department of Universidad de Valencia (SPAIN). She has formerly taught at Universidad Católica de Valencia, where she was Dean of the Business Faculty. Her research interests include consumer behavior and tourism services. She has authored more than 40 articles (in Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management, Journal of Consumer Behavior, Journal of Services Marketing, International Journal of Hospitality Management, Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management among others), and has presented more than 70 papers in Congresses (EMAC, MKT TRENDS Conference, AMA Servsig, ATMC). She teaches in several international masters in Europe (MTM in IGC at Bremen (Germany) and MAE at IGR-IAE Rennes (France). Guest scholar for short periods at Columbia University (New York City. USA), ESCP (France), Sassari University (Sardinia. Italia), Strathclyde University (Glasgow, UK), She is member of the American Marketing Association (AMA), Asociación Española de Marketing (AEMARK), Association Française de Marketing (AFM) and formerly of Association Internationale d’Experts Scientifiques en Tourisme (AIEST She is member of the Board of Directors of Pernod Ricard. S.A. since 2012.

Raquel GOMEZ LOPEZ is a Lecturer in Business Management at the University of Cantabria (Spain). Her current research interests include quality management, excellence models, responsible management, family firms, innovation, and tourism. Raquel’s works have been published in journals of international impact such as Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, Total Quality Management & Business Excellence and Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development among others. She is also author of several chapters in various collective works and one book. She regularly participates in prestigious international and national conferences, such as those organized by FERC, IFERA and ACEDE.

Misra Cagla GUL is an Associate Professor of Marketing and the Vice Director of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Isik University. She holds a PhD degree from Bogazici University, and an MBA degree from Georgia State University. She has published in the fields of marketing and consumer behavior in times of recession, corporate social responsibility, social marketing, status consumption, green consumer behavior and strategic marketing. She teaches various marketing courses including consumer behavior, advertising and services marketing, both at undergraduate and graduate levels. Her professional experience includes over 5 years in marketing in telecommunications and energy sectors. She has a B.Sc. degree in Industrial Engineering from Bogazici University.

Jose Ramon CARDONA received a doctorate in business economics from the University of the Balearic Islands in 2012. He worked as lecturer in marketing at the University of Zaragoza, Pablo de Olavide University and the University of the Balearic Islands. He’s a research associate of the research group Business Management and Tourist Destinations.

Giacomo DEL CHIAPPA is an assistant professor of marketing at the Department of Economics and Business, University of Sassari (Italy), and Associate Researcher at CRENoS. He is also a senior research fellow, School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His research is related to destination governance and branding, consumer behavior, and digital marketing. He has published articles in several international journals, among others the International Journal of Hospitality Management, Journal of Services Marketing, Journal of Travel Research, International Journal of Tourism Research, International Journal of Contemporary and Hospitality Management, Current Issues in Tourism, and Information Systems and E-Business Management.

Michael DEVEREUX obtained both Master in Business Administration (MBA) from University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Master in International Business from Universitat de Valencia. Prior to graduate school, he gained a Bachelor in Economics and Geography focusing on international economics and Central/South America from Weber State University. Additionally, he has studied in Costa Rica, and in Guatemala participating in a microfinance and economic development project for indigenous women in Guatemala. His current interests are focused on international affairs, humanitarian components, health and well-being, economic development, community engagement, energy and environmental sustainability.

José Luis FERNANDEZ SANCHEZ, PhD is a Professor of Business Administration at the University of Cantabria. He specializes in CSR, especially social investment.

Paul George HOLLAND, received a Bachelor in Business degree from the Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand in 2012 and a Master of Business Studies from Massey University, New Zealand in 2015.

Mehmet KAYTAZ is currently professor of economics and the Dean of Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Işık University, Istanbul, Turkey. He holds a M.A. degree from the University of Manchester (1974) and Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham (1978). He was a faculty member of Boğaziçi University between 1978-2005.He served as President of State Institute of Statistics, Turkey; as Undersecretary of Treasury; as an alternate director in European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and as Chairman of Board of Directors of Eregli Iron & Steel Factories. He has authored articles and books on small-scale enterprises, income distribution, economic growth, statistics, finance and education.

Valentín-Alejandro MARTINEZ FERNANDEZ is a Permanent Professor at University of A Coruña, Area of Marketing and Market Research. B.A. Information Sciences, Complutense University of Madrid. MBA Management and Business Administration, University of A Coruña. PhD. Information Sciences, Complutense University of Madrid.

Patricia MARTINEZ GARCIA DE LEANIZ is an Assistant Professor at the University of Cantabria (Spain). Her current research interests include corporate social responsibility, consumer behavior, corporate marketing and responsible management. Her research focuses on theoretical and empirical studies in the tourism sector. Patricia’s works have been published in journals of international impact such as International Journal of Hospitality Management, Journal of Business Ethics, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management and Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing among others. She is also author of several chapters in various collective works and one book. She regularly participates in prestigious international and national conferences, such as those organized by EMAC, AEMARK and ACEDE.

Lars MORATIS is an expert in corporate social responsibility (CSR) affiliated with Antwerp Management School in Belgium as the Academic Director of the Competence Center Corporate Responsibility and with the NHTV University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands as Professor of Sustainable Business. His research interests lie in the credibility of corporate CSR claims, ISO 26000, CSR strategy, CSR implementation, responsible management education and critical perspectives on CSR. His other interest is the psychology of sustainability. He received an MSc in Business Administration from Erasmus University Rotterdam School of Management and his PhD from the Open University the Netherlands. His PhD dissertation on ISO 26000 carried the title ‘Standardizing a better world? Essays and critical reflections on the ISO 26000 standard for corporate social responsibility’. He publishes on his research interest in both scientific and practitioner-oriented journals and book chapters. He has written several books, among which is ‘ISO 26000: The business guide to the new standard on social responsibility’.

María D. ODRIOZOLA (PhD) is a Lecturer in Business Administration at the University of Cantabria. Her research focuses on Human Resources Management and CSR. Particularly, she is specialized in labor social responsibility practices.

Mariella PINNA is a Research Fellow at the University of Sassari where she teaches in the area of “Ethics”. Her research interest is related to ethical consumption and consumer behavior.

Vesela RADOVIC is an associate professor, works in the Institute for Multidisciplinary Research, Belgrade University, Serbia. Dr. Radovic has an MPH in fire safety protection and a PhD in safety, protection and defense from the Faculty of Safety in Belgrade. She has a long record of experience in the area of disaster management. As an expert in the area of disaster management she prepared the handbook, Methodology of Risk Assessment and Emergency Management Planning at the Local Level. This manual was a part of the activities of the USAID, Serbia Preparedness, Planning and Economic Security Program, implemented by the DAI/Washington. She spent a year with the Fulbright/Hubert Humphrey Fellowship, at Tulane University, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Department of International Health and Development, New Orleans, LA. During that year in USA her focus was on public policy making and emergency preparedness. Dr. Radovic will focus her future activities in academic community in order to share acquired knowledge to help her country, Serbia in supporting the necessary reforms in the context of Euro-Atlantic Integrations.

Amir Hossein RAHDARI is one of the top 25 youngest Sustainable Business professionals (2degrees). He is the director of research at Corporate Governance and Responsibility Development Centre, an external reviewer to several Int. peer-reviewed journals (JCR and Scopus indexed), a research contributor to CSRI and some other leading platforms. He is also an independent research & consultant and a member of several leading panels on sustainability including GBI Panel (US), NG Panel (UK), Ministry of Petroleum CSR Committee (Iran).

Pedro M. ROMERO FERNANDEZ is a Professor in the Department of Business Management at the University of Cadiz. His teaching experience (more than 15 years) spans the broad range of strategy, human resources and management. He has published his work in the field of HRM in peer-reviewed top national and international journals, such as the International Journal of Human Resource Management, British Journal of Management, Journal of Business Research and Journal of Business Ethics.

María Dolores SANCHEZ FERNANDEZ is a PhD “Competitiveness, Innovation and Development” and a Lecturer at the University of la Coruña (Spain), Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Analysis and Business Management, Business Organization area. She is also part of the GREFIN (University of A Coruña) and GEIDETUR (University of Huelva) research groups and associate researcher at the Centre of CICS.NOVA.UMinho and Lab2PT research at the University of Minho, GEEMAT (Brazil) and REDOR Network (Mexico). She has been the author or co-author of several articles published in indexed journals. She has participated in over 100 communications in national and International conferences and is a member of the scientific committee. She reviews international scientific magazines in Spain, United States and Brazil. Her main research topics are: Corporate Social Responsibility, quality, tourism, the hotel industry and human resources.

Katharina SARTER is an Ailsa McKay Postdoctoral Fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University. Previously Research Fellow at Bielefeld University, University of Muenster, and University of Rostock as well as Bernheim Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics at the Catholic University of Louvain and Visiting Scholar at the Public Procurement Research Group at the School of Law of the University of Nottingham.

Catalina SITNIKOV is Professor at University of Craiova (Romania), Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. She has PhD title in Management since 2000, Habilitation title in Management since 2014 and since February 2015 is PhD supervisor in Management. For 3 years activated as Visiting Lecturer at Helsinki University of Technology, Lahti Center (Finland). Since 1995, she has been teaching undergraduate, master and PhD students. She teaches Quality Management, Total Quality Management and Management. Her main research areas include: management, strategic management, and mostly quality management, instruments and models specific to the stages of quality planning, control and improvement, quality management strategies, ISO standards, CSR from the perspective of specific standards and instruments.

Marius Sorin TUDOR holds a PhD from the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration within University of Craiova. In 1998, graduated Bachelor Degree, major in Accountancy and Informatics, Faculty of Economics, University of Craiova, Romania, In 2001, graduated Master program in Business Administration, Faculty of Economics, University of Craiova, Romania In 2008, PhD in Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Craiova, Romania Since 2006 – present, teaching and researching in Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Craiova on topics such as Project Management, Environmental Economics, Marketing public, Methods and techniques for decision-making in public organizations, Media management. Since 2015 – present, Manager of Universitaria – Publishing house within University of Craiova.

Başak UCANOK TAN received her B.A. degree in Business Administration from Başkent University. Upon her graduation she was granted the Sunley Management Scholarship and completed MSc in International Management from the University of Northampton, UK. Her master’s dissertation focused on the adverse psychological effects of financial crises on layoff survivors. She continued her academic pursuits in Marmara and Istanbul Bilgi University and earned her PhD in Organizational Behavior with her dissertation on the investigation of organizational citizenship behaviors in Turkish SMEs. Her academic research focus concentrates on the dynamics of micro organizational phenomena including work values, organizational citizenship behavior, organizational commitment, alienation, leadership and cooperative behavior. She has served as coordinator in Public Relations program in Istanbul Bilgi University from 2010 to 2012 and has recently became Associate Professor.

Anya Catharina Eva ZEBREGS is a master student at University of Amsterdam. Last January she completed her masters in Business Administration and currently she is writing her thesis for the Social Psychology masters. The two masters complement each other very well; she gathered knowledge about consumers, organizations, groups of people and how to influence them and combined this with strategic and economic knowledge. She is interested in marketing and consultancy and after her internship, which will start this September, she would like to find a job in either marketing or consultancy. Further, Anya has always been very interested in CSR and the non-profit market, one of the reasons why she chooses to write her first master thesis about CSR. Further, she is president of the board of SOLVE Consulting Amsterdam. SOLVE is a professional student consultancy organization active in social enterprise consulting. The organization advises non-profits and social enterprises in their efficiency and effectiveness.

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Filed under Business, Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, responsible tourism, Shared Value, Small Business, SMEs, Stakeholder Engagement, sustainable development

Financing Small Business Enterprises in Europe

THR

Excerpt from: Camilleri M.A. (2015). Nurturing Travel and Tourism Enterprises for Economic Growth and Competitiveness. Tourism and Hospitality Research. Sage DOI: 10.1177/1467358415621947

“This contribution has featured some relevant EU practitioner-oriented policies and instruments that are currently helping European enterprises to raise capital for further investment. It has identified how crowdfunding could unlock significant amounts of capital to start-ups, investments and projects. In addition, it suggested that crowdfunding could be a viable alternative to either investor or creditor-based funding, including banks, business angels, or even venture capital”.

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Responsible Tourism that Creates Shared Value Among Stakeholders

Excerpt from the paper entitled; “Responsible Tourism that Creates Shared Value among Stakeholders” This contribution will shortly be published by  Tourism Planning and Development Journal.

This study revealed how different tourism organisations were engaging in responsible behaviours with varying degrees of intensity and success. It has identified cost effective and efficient operations. There was mention of some measures which enhance the human resources productivity. Other measures sought to reduce the negative environmental impacts. At the same time, it was recognised that it was in the businesses’ interest to maintain good relations with different stakeholders, including the regulatory ones.

rtThe researcher believes that responsible tourism can truly bring a competitive advantage when there are fruitful communications and continuous dialogue among all stakeholder groups (including the employees, customers, marketplace and societal groups). The tourism enterprises ought to engage themselves in societal relationships and sustainable environmental practices (Chiu, Lee and Chen, 2014). The tourism owner-managers admitted that responsible behaviours have brought reputational benefits, enhanced the firms’ image among external stakeholders and led to a favourable climate of trust and cooperation within the company. Similar findings were reported by Nunkoo and Smith (2013). This study reported that a participative leadership boosts employee morale and job satisfaction which may often lead to lower staff turnover and greater productivity in the workplace (Davidson et al., 2010). Evidently, stakeholder relationships are needed to bring external knowledge sources, which may in turn enhance organisational skills and performance (Frey and George, 2010).

The governments may also have an important role to play in this regard. The governments can take an active leading role in triggering responsible behaviours. Booyens (2010) also reiterated that greater efforts are required by governments, the private sector and other stakeholders to translate responsible tourism principles into policies, strategies and regulations. Governments may give incentives (through financial resources in the form of grants or tax relief) and enforce regulation in certain areas where responsible behaviour is required. The regulatory changes may possibly involve the use of eco-label and certifications. Alternatively, the government may encourage efficient and timely reporting and audits of sustainability (and social) practices. The governments may provide structured compliance procedures to tourism enterprises. Responsible tourism practices and their measurement, reporting and accreditation should be as clear and understandable as possible. The governments’ reporting standards and guidelines may possibly be drawn from the international reporting instruments (e.g. ISO, SA, AA, and GRI).

This research posits that sustainable and responsible environmental practices leverage the tourism enterprises performance as innovations can help to improve their bottom-line. This finding was also consonant with Bohdanowicz’s (2006) contribution. This research indicated that the investigated enterprises were increasingly pledging their commitment for discretionary investments in environmental sustainability, including; energy and water conservation, alternative energy generation, waste minimisation, reducing, reusing and recycling policies, pollution prevention, environmental protection, carbon offsetting programmes and the like. Indeed, some of the interviewees have proved that they were truly capable of reducing their operational costs through better efficiencies. Nevertheless, there may be still room for improvement as tourism enterprises can increase their investments in the latest technological innovations. This study indicates that there are small tourism enterprises that still need to realise the business case for responsible tourism. Their organisational culture and business ethos will have to become attuned to embrace responsible behavioural practices.

Nevertheless, it must be recognised that the tourism industry is made up of various ownership structures, sizes and clienteles. In addition, there are many stakeholder influences, which affect the firms’ level of social and environmental responsibility (Carroll and Shabana, 2010). Acquiring new knowledge must be accompanied by mechanisms for dissemination. Perhaps, there is scope in sharing best practices, even with rival firms. It is necessary for responsible businesses to realise that they need to work in tandem with other organisations in order to create shared value and to move the responsible tourism agenda forward. Therefore, this study’s findings encourage inter-firm collaboration and networking across different sectors of the tourism industry.

“…responsible behaviours have brought reputational benefits, enhanced the firms’ image among external stakeholders and led to a favourable climate of trust and cooperation within the company”.

This contribution contends that the notion of shared value is opening up new opportunities for responsible tourism and the sustainability agenda, particularly with its innovative approach to configure the value chain (Pfitzer, et al, 2013; Porter and Kramer 2011). There are competitive advantages that may arise from creating and measuring shared value. Evidently, there is more to responsible tourism than, ‘doing good by doing well’ (Garay and Font, 2012). As firms reap profits and grow, they can generate virtuous circles of positive multiplier effects. This paper has indicated that the tourism enterprises, who engage themselves in responsible and sustainable practices, are creating value for themselves and for society. In conclusion, this research puts forward the following key recommendations for the responsible tourism agenda:

• Promotion of laudable business processes that bring economic, social and environmental value;
• Encouragement of innovative and creative approaches, which foster the right environment for further development and application of sustainable and responsible practices;
• Enhancement of collaborations and partnership agreements with governments, trade unions and society in general, including the marketplace stakeholders;
• Ensuring that there are adequate levels of performance in areas such as health and safety, suitable working conditions and sustainable environmental practices;
• Increased awareness, constructive communication, dialogue and trust;
• National governments may create a regulatory framework which encourages and enables the implementation of sustainable and responsible behavioural practices by tourism enterprises.


References (a complete list of references that were cited in this paper)

Ayuso, S. (2007). Comparing voluntary policy instruments for sustainable tourism: The experience of the Spanish hotel sector. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 15(2), 144-159.

Bohdanowicz, P. (2006). Environmental awareness and initiatives in the Swedish and Polish hotel industries—survey results. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 25(4), 662-682.

Booyens, I. (2010). Rethinking township tourism: towards responsible tourism development in South African townships. Development Southern Africa, 27(2), 273-287.

Bramwell, B., & Lane, B. (1993). Sustainable tourism: An evolving global approach. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1(1), 1-5.

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Bramwell, B., & Sharman, A. (1999). Collaboration in local tourism policymaking. Annals of tourism research, 26(2), 392-415.

Bramwell, B., Lane, B., McCabe, S., Mosedale, J., & Scarles, C. (2008). Research perspectives on responsible tourism.

Buckley, R. (2012). Sustainable tourism: Research and reality. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(2), 528-546

Camilleri, M.A. (2014). Advancing the Sustainable Tourism Agenda Through Strategic CSR Perspectives, Tourism Planning & Development, 11:1, 42-56.

Camilleri, M.A. (2015) “Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting”. Corporate Reputation Review, Vol. 18 (3).

Carroll, A.B., and Shabana, K.M (2010), The business case for corporate social responsibility: a review of concepts, research and practice. International Journal of Management Reviews 12 (1), 85-105.

Chiu, Y. T. H., Lee, W. I., & Chen, T. H. (2014). Environmentally responsible behavior in ecotourism: Antecedents and implications. Tourism Management, 40, 321-329.

Cooper, C. P. & Ozdil, I. (1992). From mass to ‘responsible’tourism: the Turkish experience. Tourism Management, 13(4), 377-386.

Crouch, G. I., & Ritchie, J. B. (1999). Tourism, competitiveness, and societal prosperity. Journal of business research, 44(3), 137-152.
Davidson, M. C., Timo, N. & Wang, Y. (2010). How much does labour turnover cost?: A case study of Australian four-and five-star hotels. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22(4), 451-466.

EU (2007). Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism. http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/tourism/documents/communications/commissioncommunication- accessed on the 12th December 2014.
EU (2012). European charter for a sustainable and responsible tourism http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/tourism/sustainable-tourism/charter/index_en.htm accessed on the 12th December 2014.

Fleischer, A., & Felsenstein, D. (2000). Support for rural tourism: Does it make a difference?. Annals of tourism research, 27(4), 1007-1024.

Frey, N., & George, R. (2010). Responsible tourism management: The missing link between business owners’ attitudes and behaviour in the Cape Town tourism industry. Tourism Management, 31(5), 621-628.

Garay, L., & Font, X. (2012). Doing good to do well? Corporate social responsibility reasons, practices and impacts in small and medium accommodation enterprises. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 31(2), 329-337.

Getz, D., & Carlsen, J. (2000). Characteristics and goals of family and owner-operated businesses in the rural tourism and hospitality sectors. Tourism management, 21(6), 547-560.

Goodwin, H., & Francis, J. (2003). Ethical and responsible tourism: Consumer trends in the UK. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 9(3), 271-284.

Goodwin, H. (2007). Responsible tourism in destinations. http://haroldgoodwin.info/blog/?p=2745 accessed on the 11th December 2013.

Goodwin, H. (2011). Taking responsibility for tourism. Woodeaton, UK: Goodfellow Publishers Limited.

Goodwin (2013) What role does certification play in ensuring Responsible Tourism? – in WTM blog. http://www.wtmlondon.com/library/What-role-does-certification-play-in-ensuring-Responsible-Tourism#sthash.azaYgVZj.dpuf accessed on the 18th January 2014.

Goodwin (2015) Using Tourism to create shared value http://blog.wtmresponsibletourism.com/2015/02/16/using-tourism-to-create-shared-value-in-kerala/

Graci, S., & Dodds, R. (2008). Why go green? The business case for environmental commitment in the Canadian hotel industry. Anatolia, 19(2), 251-270.

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Hall, C. M., & Lew, A. A. (1998). Sustainable tourism. A geographical perspective. Addison Wesley Longman Ltd.

Hall, C. M. (2010). Changing paradigms and global change: From sustainable to steady-state tourism. Tourism Recreation Research, 35(2), 131-143.

Hall, C. M. (2011). A typology of governance and its implications for tourism policy analysis. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19(4-5), 437-457.

Haywood, K. M. (1988). Responsible and responsive tourism planning in the community. Tourism management, 9(2), 105-118.

Iglesias, A., Garrote, L., Flores, F., & Moneo, M. (2007). Challenges to manage the risk of water scarcity and climate change in the Mediterranean. Water Resources Management, 21(5), 775-788.

IHG (2012a). Intercontintental Hotel Group: CSR Report 2012. http://www.ihgplc.com/files/pdf/2012_cr_report.pdf accessed on the 15th January 2014.

IHG (2012b). Intercontinental Hotel Group: CSR Report IHG Green Engage. http://www.ihgplc.com/index.asp?pageid=742 accessed on the 15th January 2014.
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Jones, A. (1987). Green tourism. Tourism management, 8(4), 354-356.

King, C. (2010). “One size doesn’t fit all” Tourism and hospitality employees’ response to internal brand management. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22(4), 517-534.

Kirk, D. (1998). Attitudes to environmental management held by a group of hotel managers in Edinburgh. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 17(1), 33-47.

Kramer, M. (2012). Shared Value: how corporations profit from solving social
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social-problems?intcmp=122 Accessed online on the 12th June 2012.

Krippendorf, J. (1982). Towards new tourism policies: The importance of environmental and sociocultural factors. Tourism management, 3(3), 135-148.

Krippendorf, J. (1987). Ecological approach to tourism marketing. Tourism Management, 8(2), 174-176.

Lee, T. H., Jan, F. H., & Yang, C. C. (2013). Conceptualizing and measuring environmentally responsible behaviors from the perspective of community-based tourists. Tourism Management, 36, 454-468.

Lloyd, B. (2015). Addressing Sustainable Development Goals: Shared value on the agenda at the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos http://sharedvalue.org/groups/addressing-sustainable-development-goals-shared-value-agenda-2015-world-economic-forum-davos Accessed online on the 12th March 2015.

McIntyre, G. (1993). Sustainable tourism development: guide for local planners. World Tourism Organization (WTO).

Merwe, M. and Wöcke, A. (2007). An investigation into responsible tourism practices in the South African hotel industry. S. Afr. J. Bus. Manage, 38(2), 2

Miller, G. (2001). Corporate responsibility in the UK tourism industry. Tourism Management, 22(6), 589-598.
MTA (2015) Malta Tourism Authority: Why become ECO certified? http://www.mta.com.mt/why-become-eco-certified accessed on the 2nd February 2015.

Nunkoo, R., & Smith, S. L. (2013). Political economy of tourism: Trust in government actors, political support, and their determinants. Tourism management, 36, 120-132.

Pavesic, D. V., & Brymer, R. A. (1990). Job satisfaction: What’s happening to the young managers?. The Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 30(4), 90-96.

Pfitzer, M., Bocksette, V., & Stamp, M. (2013). Innovating for Shared Value. Harvard Business Review.

Porter, M.E. & Kramer, M.R. (2011). Creating shared value: How to reinvent capitalism – and unleash a wave of innovation and growth. Harvard Business Review, (January/February), 62-77.

Poulston, J. M. (2009). Working conditions in hospitality: Employees’ views of the dissatisfactory hygiene factors. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 10(1), 23-43.

Sharpley, R. (2000). Tourism and sustainable development: Exploring the theoretical divide. Journal of Sustainable tourism, 8(1), 1-19.

Sharpley, R. (2014). Teaching responsible tourism. The Routledge Handbook of Tourism and Hospitality Education, 171.

Shaw, G., Bailey, A., & Williams, A. (2011). Aspects of service-dominant logic and its implications for tourism management: Examples from the hotel industry. Tourism Management, 32(2), 207-214.

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UNWTO – UNEP (2012). Tourism in the Green Economy: Background Report. http://sdt.unwto.org/en/content/publications-1 accessed on the 29th June 2013.

Wheeller, B. (1991). Tourism’s troubled times: Responsible tourism is not the answer. Tourism Management, 12(2), 91-96.

WTTC (2002). Speeches and Presentations. Retrieved from http://www.wttc.org/eng/Tourism_News/Speeches_and_Presentations/2002_Speeches_and_Presentations/accessed on the 10th March 2012.

WTTC (2011). Latest Policy on travel and tourism, Retrieved from htp://www.wttc.org/site_media/uploads/downloads/traveltourism2011.pdf accessed on the 2nd March 2012.

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Better Access to Finance for European Enterprises

Although there has been substantial research on enterprises; information on their financing needs is quite limited. Small business entities are often viewed by financial institutions as relatively risky. In this light, the European Union (EU) continues to reaffirm its support for the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). As a matter of fact, the EU has drafted the ‘Small Business Act’ in 2008 and has refined it again in 2011. Another example of the EU’s commitment in this regard is conspicuous as it frequently calls for research and training schemes in the subject area of ‘SMEs’, where grants are issued under ‘Marie Curie’ and ‘Cordis FP7’ programmes.

Very often, small firms tend to find themselves in an equity gap, where it may prove quite hard to acquire capital. Although commercial banks are key providers of finance for many enterprises through the provision of loans; unsecured debt finance without collateral is very limited. Therefore, SMEs’ growth into viable investment opportunities may be severely restricted. Throughout the years, the EU has dedicated several funds to help these small (and micro) enterprises. Recently, the EU’s Enterprise and Industry Division has reiterated the importance of improving access to finance for SMEs. This interesting development has led to numerous funding schemes and to a new generation of financial instruments that support SMEs’ financing needs. Evidently, the EU has committed itself to boost its support for SMEs through various financing programmes, as illustrated in Table 1.

Table 1: EU measures that support SMEs

EU SMESource: EU (2015).

Europe is responding to the contentious issues facing SMEs by providing a mix of flexible, financial instruments under programmes, such as; the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), Progress Microfinance, the Risk Sharing Instrument (FP7), EIB loans and Structural Funds. For instance, the EU (in 2013) allocated a budget of €2.3bn specifically to bolster the “Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises” (COSME) during the period between 2014 to 2020. This initiative has been designed to support European SMEs in four key areas:

  • Developing entrepreneurship;
  • Helping SMEs access finance;
  • Supporting SMEs who wish to internationalise their business, and
  • Reducing the legislative and regulatory burden on SMEs.

Almost 220,000 SMEs profited from the Commission’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) programme (EU, 2013). CIP has proved to be a very successful programme over the past few years. Since 2007, there were many SMEs that had benefited from CIP Funding . In fact, CIP was able to stimulate more than €15 billion of financing for SMEs, so far (EU, 2013). With a budget of €1.1 billion (CIP) has helped to mobilise over €13 billion of loans and €2.3 billion of venture capital for SMEs across Europe. Under its SME guarantee facility, CIP has helped nearly 220,000 SMEs to access loans.

These loan guarantees are required by individual entrepreneurs or  small enterprises that do not possess sufficient collateral.  Every euro that is dedicated to guarantees will in turn stimulate 30 euros in bank loans (EU, 2013).

Sources:

EU (2015) Improving the financing environment in Europe. http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/finance/financing-environment/index_en.htm accessed on the 20th January 2015.

EU (2013) Improving access to finance for SMEs: key to economic recovery. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-387_en.htm?locale=FR accessed on the 20th January 2015.

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‘Crowdfunding’ for economic growth and competitiveness

crowdfunding

 

Recently the European Commission has launched a consultation programme (between the 3rd October to 31st December 2013) to explore the costs and benefits of ‘crowdfunding’ as an alternative form of finance. Contributions are sought from competent authorities, crowdfunding platforms, entrepreneurs and individuals who launched crowdfunding campaigns. Stakeholders are invited to share their views about crowdfunding opportunities and to help in the design of an optimal policy framework which will untap the potential of this new form of financing. Crowdfunding entails the collection of funds through small contributions from many parties in order to raise capital for a particular project or venture. This alternative source of financing has the potential to bridge the equity gap many start-ups face. It is hoped that this initiative stimulates entrepreneurship amid different regulatory, supervisory, fiscal and social structures of the European Union. Evidently, the European Commission is delving through extant national legal frameworks to understand better how businesses can raise their capital through such open forms of financing. Whereas some crowdfunding campaigns are local in nature, there may be others who are benefiting from easier access to financing within the single European market.

Certain safeguards may be necessary to maintain the stakeholders’ trust and engagement. The ultimate objective of the European Commission’s consultation is to gather data about the needs of market participants and to identify the areas where there is an opportunity for the sustainable growth of enterprises though debt-based or equity-based crowdfunding. The consultation covers all forms of crowdfunding; ranging from donations and rewards to financial investments. Everyone is invited to share their opinions and perceptions, including citizens who might contribute to crowdfunding campaigns and entrepreneurs who may launch such campaigns. National authorities and crowdfunding platforms are also encouraged to reply.

In a similar vein, the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently considering crowdfunding as it was featured in “Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act” (JOBS Act). It is very likely that the proposal for crowdfunding will bring a major shift in how small U.S. companies can raise their money in the private securities market. Alternative sources of finance which are already secured via the internet include; monetary contributions in exchange for rewards, product pre-ordering, lending and / or investment. With crowdfunding now there’s the possibility that smaller businesses will be able to raise up to $1 million a year by tapping unaccredited investors. Any type of project with a promising ROI may soon opt for crowdfunding. Hopefully, it will be the micro entrepreneurs and researchers who will be capable of soliciting such ‘crowdfunding’ opportunities.

These plans can be successful only if the regulatory costs are kept as low as possible. Otherwise, small enterprises may not be intrigued by such a financing proposition. From the outset, crowdfunding may still seem a bit unclear at this stage. There are many companies including startups that can take advantage of these rules. Probably, one of the main causes of concern will be any reporting requirements for small companies to file their annual financial statements. For instance, SEC’s crowdfunding proposals may suggest certain disclosures, such as; “information about officers and directors, how proceeds from the offering will be used, and financial statements”. It transpires that the crowdfunding proposals are limiting how much money an unaccredited investor can contribute each year. The proposal says that investors with a net worth and income of less than $100,000 can contribute only $2,000 or 5 percent of their net worth or income, whichever is greater. Those with a net worth or income of more than $100,000 can contribute more. In an effort to reduce burdens on companies and portals, SEC’s plan would not explicitly force them to take steps to verify income levels and the net worth of investors in crowdfunding. At the same time, SEC would require companies using crowdfunding to release financial statements and other information that could prove costly.

No doubt that the most experienced entrepreneurs and their intermediaries will have no difficulty in meeting such crowdfunding rules and regulations. Perhaps, it is the first-time entrepreneurs who may require further support. At present the smaller businesses earning revenues (and profits) below a certain threshold are not legally obliged to provide audited financial statements. Moreover, small enterprises may not always have historical financials. This means that financial services authorities will find it quite difficult to determine how small companies are true and fair in their financial reports. According to the US proposals, the businesses who consider crowdfunding as a source of finance will have to audit their accounts.

By the end of this year the European stakeholders would have consulted about this ‘new’ source of finance. It is hoped that any discourse in this regard will translate into facilitative, soft-law measures leading to legislative action. If the crowdfunding proposals will be implemented; more capital will be unlocked for start-ups, investments and projects. This capital finance will surely help to spur economic growth and competitiveness.

More information is available here:

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/finances/crowdfunding/

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Unleashing Shared Value through Content Marketing

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Companies have to deal with different stakeholders’ opinions, attitudes and perceptions about their behaviour. They need to strike a balance in satisfying numerous stakeholders’ expectations. Businesses can’t please everyone. However, they should try to engage in fruitful and collaborative working relationships with external stakeholders, as dialogue often leads to improvements in mutual trust and understanding. Continuous communication also translates to benefits for the businesses’ reputation, its brand image, customer loyalty and investor confidence. Companies cannot afford to overstate or misrepresent their Corporate Responsibility (CR) initiatives. Although, they often manage to control their internal communication paths, it is much harder to control external media. As a result, it has never been more necessary to turn the businesses’ stakeholders into potential advocates for both the cause and the company. This can happen if CR realms are a good fit for the businesses’ mission and vision. It is advisable that CR communications reflect the ethos of the practicing organisations. Therefore CR (and sustainability) reporting should be clear in their intentions, with specific and relevant information featuring the companies’ credentials, and how stakeholders will benefit.

CR behaviour is directed at the organisations’ stakeholders comprising human resources, suppliers, customers and the community at large. Well laid down policies and initiatives are usually communicated through formal statements in annual reports as well as through corporate websites. CR reporting cover areas like training and development opportunities for employees, employee consultation and dialogue, health, safety and security issues and also measures for work-life balance. Apparently, business organisations are increasingly pledging their commitment for more innovative environmental investments. For instance, energy and water conservation, waste minimisation and recycling, pollution prevention, environmental protection as well as sustainable transport options. These sustainable practices bring strategic benefits such as operational efficiencies and cost savings. Several empirical studies (including mine) have indicated that discretionary investments in CR, whether they are driven from  strategic intents or from ‘posturing behaviours’ often result in improved relationships with internal and external stakeholders. The rationale for societal engagement is to anticipate third party pressures, lower the criticisms from the public and to minimise legal cases through compliance with regulations.  

CR should not be merely presented as goodwill or as a philanthropic venture. It should be featured as a realistic business case for stakeholders. This shared value proposition requires particular areas of focus within the businesses’ context. Yet, at the same time it looks after the society’s wellbeing. This notion contributes towards sustainability by addressing societal and community deficits. Presumably, shared value can be sustained only if there is a genuine commitment to organisational learning, and if there is a genuine willingness to forge relationships with key stakeholders, including customers and employees. Free publicity and informal word of mouth can either bring supportive or damaging effects. There is scope for businesses to foster strong relationships with particular community and marketplace beneficiaries. Such stakeholders can possibly serve as a buffer against potentially negative and harmful reviews. Recently, companies are increasingly focusing their attention on content and inbound marketing. In a nutshell, content marketing necessitates an integrated marketing approach through different channels of communication with stakeholders. This has to be carried out at all times. Many local businesses are becoming proficient in their customer engagement. They realise that this marketing approach brings customer loyalty, particularly if the business is delivering consistent, ongoing business propositions. In a similar vein, inbound marketing tactics also draw customers to businesses. Successful businesses are continuously coming up with informative yet interesting, original content through innovative marketing and interactive methods such as blogs, podcasts and social media networking, enewsletters et cetera. Online content comprise refreshing information which tell stakeholders how to connect the dots. It goes without saying that corporate internet sites are serving their purpose. The general public is continuously presented a better picture of the companies’ communications; containing the latest news, elements of the marketing mix endeavours and marketing fads. It transpires that content marketing has become a valuable tool for CR communications. Businesses who make use of the right content to explain their CR behaviours will gain a competitive advantage relative to others. On the other hand, stakeholders have become acquainted with businesses communicating their motives and rationale behind CR programmes. CR practices provide a good opportunity for businesses to raise their profile through their laudable behaviours.

At times, businesses can obtain decent coverage by third parties, especially media enterprises who are renowned for their sense of objectivity. Strategic communications help to improve the corporate image of firms, leading to reputational benefits and rapports of trust with stakeholders. This short contribution suggests that content and inbound marketing can be successfully employed for CR communications and to enhance customer and employee engagements.

DrMarkCamilleri.com

Google News

Times of Malta

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Sustainable Tourism Indicators for EU Destinations

The European Commission has developed a European Tourism Indicators System (ETIS) for Sustainable Management at Destination Level, which is a comprehensive system, simple to use, flexible and suitable for all tourism destinations.

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The system is designed to be used by tourism destinations to monitor, manage, measure and enhance their sustainability performances, without the need of any specific training. Motivations for tourism destination monitoring include:

•Improved information for decision making
•Effective risk management
•Prioritization of action projects
•Performance benchmarking
•Improved community buy-in and support for tourism stakeholders
•Enhanced visitor experience
•Increased bottom-line / cost savings
•Increased value per visitor

Source: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/tourism/sustainable-tourism/indicators/documents_indicators/eu_toolkit_indicators_en.pdf

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Employment Laws and Industry Codes of Practice in Malta

 

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June 25, 2013 · 10:01 am