Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Strategic Sustainability

Title: Applying Strategic Sustainability: For Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are an underutilised sector to disseminating sustainability within communities. Entrepreneurs are action-oriented individuals who enjoy challenges and act upon environmental feedback, making them ideal change agents. However, there is a lack of tools specifically targeted towards SMEs to help them act strategically towards sustainability. In order to support entrepreneurs and motivate them into becoming catalysts for change towards sustainability the research team identified the need to provide them with a customized tool.


1.1 The ‘System’, what is going on at the Global Scale?
1.2 Success, living within the boundaries and limitations of the system and towards a sustainable society
1.3 Strategy, to support SME entrepreneurs incorporate sustainability as part of business practises to help move society towards sustainability
1.3.1 Collectively SMEs have as much impact on the environment as large corporations
1.3.2 SMEs need to be “included” more since they are vital to the community, are proactive and creative
1.3.3 SMEs need help with the “how” of incorporating sustainable business practices
1.3.4 SME entrepreneurs engaging in sustainable development have an advantage; there are benefits to incorporating sustainable strategies
1.4 Actions and Tools
1.5 Research Questions
2.1 Research Approach, Data Collection and Analysis
2.1.1. Setting the stage: identifying the need and co-creating a shared vision
2.1.2 Listing logical assumptions
2.1.3. Assessing the current reality of small businesses and entrepreneurs
2.1.4. Conceptualizing the tool
2.1.5. Creating the prototype
2.1.6. Co-creating the Tool
2.1.7. Compiling, analyzing feedback to develop tool criteria
2.2 Scope and Limitations
3.1 Survey Results (Appendix E)
3.1.1 Assumptions
3.1.2 Sample size & location
3.1.3 Target audience & life of the business
3.1.4 Wrote a business plan
3.1.5 Update their business plan
3.1.6 Consider their business sustainable
3.1.7 Incorporates sustainability within the business plan
3.1.8 Have a definition of sustainability
3.1.9 Challenges faced while moving towards sustainability
3.1.10 Benefits of working towards sustainability
3.2 Prototype
3.3 Co-Creating the Business Planning Tool: Expert Feedback on the Prototype Business Planning Tool
3.3.1 Layout
3.3.2 Content
3.3.3 Scope
3.3.4 Validation
4.1 Relation Between Survey Results and Research Questions
4.2 Key Findings
4.3 Discussion of Criteria for our Tool
4.3.1 Independent sections
4.3.2 Encourage creativity
4.3.3 Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS) – Direct, leading & building to something specific
4.3.4 Participative
4.3.5 Leading the entrepreneur in the right direction
5.1 Further Work
APPENDIX A. Methodology Table
APPENDIX B. Extended List of Research Contacts
APPENDIX C. Co-creation Team
APPENDIX D. Feedback from Co-creation Team
APPENDIX E. Survey Results
APPENDIX F. Categories of Challenges Faced by Survey Respondents
APPENDIX G. Contributions 104

Author: Rachelle McElroy, Itzel Orozco, Renee Simard

Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology

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