Student guide Faculty of Economics A.Y. 2008/09

Economics of Small and Medium Sized Firms
Aim of the course
The course analyses some of the principal features that characterise the workings of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Following a general overview of the strategic decisions peculiar to these types of firms, students will have the opportunity to examine and address some key topics such as "services and frameworks for supporting the establishment and growth of SMEs", "entrepreneurial profiles", "structures and mechanisms of governance in SMEs", "grouping of small enterprises into clusters and networks", "services in support of internationalisation" and "the growth of SMEs". The course will also include discussions of case studies, and presentations by guest speakers from the world of business.
1. Small enterprises: specific attributes and role.
Part 1. Figure of the entrepreneur and founding of a new enterprise.
2. Entrepreneurial opportunities.
3. Successful entrepreneurial profiles.
4. The business plan for the proposed new undertaking.
Part 2. Relationship between family and firm in small enterprises.
5. Principles of management of the family firm.
6. Continuity of the family firm: succession of the founding entrepreneur.
Part 3. Industrial clusters:
7. Industrial clusters: principal characteristics of the model.
8. Firms and relationships between firms within industrial clusters.
9. Strategic governance of clusters: meta-managerial structures at the service of small enterprises.
Part 4. Growth of the small enterprise.
10. Growth pathways for small enterprises.
11. Internationalisation of small enterprises.
12. Opening of the capital to financial investors in small enterprises.
Part 5. Italian small and medium sized enterprises in China.
13. China: opportunities and threats to the competitiveness of SMEs
14. Entry strategies of Italian SMEs in China.
There will be a written exam.
Attending students will also sit a written test immediately after the end of the course. The examination for attending students will cover the course textbook (see below), as well as the study materials distributed in class and through the website.
For non attending students, the written exam will cover the above course textbook, and an additional second textbook chosen from the list below.
Reading list
For attending students:
Cortesi A., Alberti F., Salvato C., Le piccole imprese. Struttura, gestione, percorsi evolutivi, Carocci, Roma, 2004.
Study materials distributed by the lecturer in class and on the website.
For non attending students:
Cortesi A., Alberti F., Salvato C., Le piccole imprese. Struttura, gestione, percorsi evolutivi, Carocci, Roma, 2004;
and an additional textbook, chosen from the following:
Corbetta G., (a cura di), Capaci di crescere, Milano, EGEA, 2005
Cortesi A., La crescita delle piccole imprese. Fusioni, acquisizioni, accordi, Giappichelli, Torino, 2004.
Minoja M., Impresa distrettuale e competizione globale, Milano, EGEA, 2002.
Salvato C., Le opportunità imprenditoriali. Come nascono, come si individuano, come si concretizzano. Milano: Guerini e Associati, 2003.
Visconti F., Il governo dei distretti industriali. Strategie, strutture e ruoli, Milano, EGEA, 2002