It is well-known that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) constitute the majority of all businesses in most countries around the world. Consequently, universities and Business Schools are starting to recognise the need for graduate courses based on small businesses and entrepreneurship. Academics and researchers have carried their investigations to the area of small business management, examining the sociological, psychological, managerial and economic dimensions. Whilst these findings are incredibly significant in terms of employment creation, new product development, and capabilities for networking, there are relatively few dedicated programmes at undergraduate or postgraduate levels in small business management.
The Need for Graduate Courses in Small Business Management
The popular conception that students are led to believe is that the highly paid jobs are only available in the larger firms. The old assumption that small and medium sized businesses are associated with the 'low end' of economic activity is out of date. Almost all the pointers for innovation, growth, employment, creativity suggest that the search for the gold mine should lead people to SMEs. Business Schools should now focus their attention on graduate courses which examine the dynamics of small businesses so that our future managers are educated leaders of these organisations.
If we are to learn about the major drivers of economic and business activity, Business Schools should consider a syllabus that reflects the true face of the wider economy and of society. Graduate courses in small business management are at the core of business management, enabling students to understand and evaluate the nature of these firms, their boundaries, technologies, skills and knowledge base. Graduate small business management courses also examine the growing international prescence of small businesses, the small and large firm network and their capacity for beating the larger organisation in the innovation and technology game.
Taken together with studies on entrepreneurship and new venture creation, programmes in small business management at graduate level should help to foster learning for change and value creation in society and prepare people for the world they really live in today.
Small Business Management in the Creative Industries
As we examine further the type and nature of SMEs in the market place, making new combinations of skills, technologies and finance to drive economic growth in the UK, India, China and many other countries around the world, we find the treasure trove of the 'creative industries'. These are the players in the information and communications technology industries, in film, media, broadcasting, professional, business and producer services, music, design, and related industries that represent some of the fastest growing industries and firms in the world.
They connect with each other globally, they play with convergent technologies that cut across manufacturing and services, and they move from homes to warehouses and factories in search of productive gain. In many cases they out-do their larger counterparts through the power of their creative skills. Their creativity is in the continual generation of new ideas and new knowledge with which to alter the way we live and work.
The study of their dynamics, their organisational and technological ebb and flow, the complex blend of skills needed to manage such organisations, the global sourcing of talent, products and services with which to run these firms, the environments in which they thrive, and the role of government in facilitating their growth, is at the heart of the MSc in Creative Industry Management.
The small, the creative, the strength of growing, and networked firms from different environments – these are the honey pots of information, action, social, human and financial capital for our knowledge creating economy. We need to commit more resources, more energy and time to their study for at least the next decade or so. These are changing times and studying a graduate courses in small business management is going to put students ahead of the game and shape the future of business management.