SMEs are key to fighting inequalities in developing countries, but their survival in turbulent environments depends on entrepreneurs' adaptive strategies/business models.This panel focuses on entrepreneurial resilience and innovation. There is a plan for a special issue after the conference.
Small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) are key drivers of economic growth and inclusive development in developing countries. Most firms in developing countries are SMEs, and they contribute a major share of the innovation, job creation, and household poverty reduction that is associated with entrepreneurial activity. However, these enterprises operate in turbulent environments characterised by a wide range of challenges - including conflicts, terrorism, political instability, and policy uncertainties. In such environments, failure rates are high; thus, business survival and success owe strongly to the dynamic capacity of entrepreneurs and business managers to adjust, adapt and adopt innovative strategies, often outside traditional models. Although these entrepreneurs are important frontline actors in poverty reduction interventions in developing countries, little is known, empirically or theoretically, about their adaptive strategies and non-traditional business models. This panel therefore invites contributions that focus on topics around entrepreneurial resilience under turbulent conditions, innovative entrepreneuring in the informal sector, value creation in smallholder agriculture, SMEs strategies for mitigating resource disadvantage, informal entrepreneurship and institutional incongruence, role of social networks and spirituality, and strategies for accessing international markets. We welcome both empirical and conceptual contributions that critically engage with these issues in the context of developing countries. Empirical papers may be based on field surveys or case studies. Systematic literature reviews that summarize the state of knowledge and emerging research trajectories are also welcome. Promising papers will be invited for a special issue of a highly rated entrepreneurship/development journal, after the conference.