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FOSTERING THE GROWTH OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES THROUGH SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are critical to economic growth and employment, especially to the countries where these subjects represent major challenges. Connecting entrepreneurs to the means of improving the organizational capabilities of their firms could enhance SMEs’ business performance through the achievement of competitive advantages. As a preliminary approach, an action-oriented set of tools for evaluating and enhancing the Innovation Capabilities in SMEs was developed and published in a website with a far-reaching scope and ought to encourage SMEs’ leaders to become self-directed learners. The evaluating tool focuses in the most important factors that resulted from a comparative research, which are: Top Management Leadership and Commitment, Operational Excellence Insight, Internal Innovation Processes and Culture, and Customer Value Insight. Furthermore, the innovation toolbox was designed for improving the performance of the firm in the aforementioned factors, which consists of simple and easy to use visual aids. Finally, the guide to promoting innovation efforts and detecting signs of failure is built around the concept of assuring the necessary resources to excel at innovation activities. The proposed set of tools is meant to empower SMEs’ leaders to become more proactive and enterprising.