Académie des technologies

SMEs, Technologies and Development

SMEs, Technologies and Development

An Academic Communication to NATF, by Christian MARBACH, former GM of SOFFINOVA PARTNERS and ANVAR

How can we assist SMEs to take technological evolution into their stride, naturally with all the relevant consequences and even encourage them to play an important role in designing and developing major innovations? This Academic Communication to the Academy sets out certain answers to these questions.

After an overview of the SME scene in France, diverse and important to the economy, the report touches on the innumerable possibilities to engage a dialogue with the SMEs, all the more so that these possibilities are open to all, whether or not they wish to integrate technologies and their changes into their activities.

The report then goes on to make identify certain factors that relate to conditions needed for a good circulation of technologies, before insisting on the specifics of those SMEs that seek to be more active in this area, for example, subcontractors of the major French groups or “young” enterprises created for the very purpose of developing innovative products, processes or services.

To conclude, the author underscores that fact that the primordial ingredient for success when an SME is faced with a technological ‘assault’ or challenge, is the personal quality of the managers and their immediate staff. This presupposes that the rules for access to various jobs and to management practice for many SMEs – that today are somewhat buried in an often Malthusian framework of authorisations should never neglect the technological dimension in the rule-base and its own evolution. Likewise, technical training in France suffers from all the crucial shortcomings that we find in the “selection” process of the students, which in essence penalise the SMEs who would be their main employers. Lastly, the author states that it is not at all certain that the current continuing education system in France allows the managers and staff of the SMEs to acquire the basics of technological evolution, fraught as this path is with delays and difficulties.