Teresa Łuczka, Professor, Poznan University of Technology, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Paweł Przepióra, Assistant Professor, Poznan University of Technology, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


SMEs sector plays a vital role in modern economies. Therefore, the interest in its functoning among economists is in fact quite natural. This artcle is a part of a current research on regional factors contributng to the development of enterprises in this category. The frst secton examines earlier studies in this feld conducted globally and in Poland. According to them, many elements enable the SME’s development. It is not surprisingly that the specifed set of pro-growth factors does not exists.

Next secton describes the results of the author’s own studies in the felds. These studies relate to regional factors contributng to the efciency growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Poland. Data used in the study was collected from GUS[1] and EUROSTAT and encompassed 16 provinces for the years 2003-2008. The model prepared included 11 independent variables on labor force, social mobility, living standard and R&D policy. The authors would have gladly considered more than 11 explanatory variable, but the inaccessibility of such data made it impossible. In the next step, using GRETL sofware, equatons of regression were defned. On this basis it was concluded that the most important factors contributng to efciency growth of SMEs are the amount of spending on R&D and the level of wages.

Keywords: small and medium-sized enterprises; factors of regional development; regions in Poland, business efciency; entrepreneurship.


Studies of broadly understood development of small and medium-sized enterprises have a long standing traditon in the literature of the subject. At their foundaton lies a special role for enterprises of this size in the creaton of basic macroeconomic values, such as GDP, employment or internatonal exchange. Against this background atenton is given to connectons between the SME sector and determinants of its development. Because of that, on the grounds of economic theory and practce factors are being sought which stmulate the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in both contexts: the economy as a whole and regionally. We must underline the mutual relatonship between SMEs and region. On one side, small and medium-sized enterprises have influence on the development of the regions or countries (Valliere, Peterson, 2009), and on the other, partcular regions create different conditons stmulatng the development of entrepreneurship. For example according to some results, urban and rural areas differ from each other as potental environments for enterprises (Ritsilä, 1999).

Scientfc studies were primarily focused on the role of SMEs in the economic development, possibilites of supportng innovaton processes performed by economic enttes of this category and on formulatng effectve economic policy on this background. Twenty years afer the publishing of the famous Bolton report, C. Gray and J. Stanworth, evaluatng the achievements of economics of small and medium-sized enterprises, drew atenton to the change in approach to this noton. In studies on entrepreneurship, and partcularly on possibilites of formulatng effectve policy for small and medium-sized enterprises sector, regional aspect started being considered (Gray, Stanworth, 1991). Ch. Karlsson and R. Dahlberg also emphasize that „one of the strongest, most important contexts for small business and entrepreneurship to emerge in recent years is region”. They site explanaton for this phenomenon mainly in the fact that at regional level there are certain facilitaton in formulaton and transmission of social capital (Karlsson, Dahlberg, 2003).

A region is also important from the perspectve of creaton and transformaton of knowledge. „While it spills over across the frms and workers of a region, such regional spillovers tend to be localized; thus accessing and partcipatng in knowledge requires geographic proximity. Small-frm networks, clusters, and linkages are organizatonal structures that have emerged in an effort to take advantage of the region” (Karlsson, Dahlberg, 2003). Important from the perspectve of signifcance of a region and development of small and medium-sized enterprises is the approach presented within the New Economic Geography trend, according to which the key signifcance in the studies undertaken is played by such values as: potental market, transacton costs, internal and external economies of scale and strengthening development processes in the region, which provide new impulses for entrepreneurship like the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and contribute to the creaton of clusters. The studies of these values are at the same tme a startng point in formulaton of effectve state and local government policy for development of enterprises of this size and creaton of clusters.

Regional determinants of development of small and medium-sized enterprises

Results of studies conducted worldwide

A strength of a region consists of many factors, mainly connected with entrepreneurial climate, in the broad sense. In studies conducted in this feld by the Rabobank in Holland, the following factors were analyzed: frm dynamics, SMEs sector dynamic, export orientaton, willingness to invest instead of entrepreneurial willingness, labor productvity, investment in transport infrastructure, SMEs’ R&D expenditure and knowledge. The authors also cited many interestng research results, partcularly from the area of broadly understood human resources. For example, a higher level of business actvity was observed in many peripheral regions than in more economically developed region of Holland. This unexpected fndings may be a result of ‘congeston in business’ arising from high competton, tougher barriers to entry, monopolistc positon on some enttes and a greater difculty to be innovatve (Naudé, Gries, Wood, Meintjies 2008). It was also noted that two out of three new frms are founded by one owner. The authors’ of Rabobank research devoted partcular atenton to three other indexes, such as: educaton level, labor cost and job density, which for its partcularly high level in large agglomeratons is described as agglomeraton effect. (Pellenbarg, van Steen, 2007).

In studies on the determinants of entrepreneurship, and especially on the conditons of creaton of new frms in Great Britain, a number of additonal factors were chosen and studied. It was found that regional factors affect both the creaton process of new frms and their survival. Very important, from a research perspectve are: populaton growth so far, high percentage share in the populaton of people with high managerial and vocatonal skills, urban concentraton, household wealth, demand.

Several interestng regularites were also indicated, such as:

  • new service companies arise in the proximity of large enterprises, and new producton companies are located near small business.
  • funds and programs supportng small and medium-sized enterprises decrease the number of bankruptcies,
  • state programs for the SMEs sector are less signifcant in their creaton than in increasing their survival rate. (Keeble, Walker, 1994).

Further results of the research conducted by M. Hart and S. McQuinnes on the factors impactng the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Great Britain unequivocally indicated the role of government-funding, regional fnancing of enterprises of this size, partcularly in regard to survival and death rate. Moreover, the SMEs using the Local Enterprises Development Unit (LEDU) support grow faster than others. A positve influence of urban region on SMEs locaton was also notced, due to the access to entrepreneurship incubators (Hart, McQuiness, 2003).

The literature on the subject includes three different approaches in research on the relatonship between entrepreneurship growth in a region and an increase of a number of new workplaces. First of all it illustrates that pro-entrepreneurial attudes result in creaton of new enterprises, which automatcally create new workplaces. Secondly, it is noted that new frms modify the level of compettveness, forcing the existng frms to improve their to date compettve advantage. Furthermore, new enterprises are the source of innovaton and consequently contribute to long-term economic growth.

Of interest, at least from a local differentaton perspectve, are the results of the research from Lithuania, which point out that despite differences between partcular regions in regard to populaton density, convergence was observed between GDP per capita and indexes characterizing SMEs. Additonally, an obvious correlaton was observed between the decline of employment in agriculture and the increase of the SMEs sector. A clear differentaton between regions was also present in regard to the share of a partcular region’s export, import and direct investments. In conclusion, the authors emphasize that „The accomplished analysis explores an interregional contradictons increase which leads to uneven development of territories. Due to this, regional policy implemented by the state must pay atenton to peculiarites of their development. It is clear enough that not separate, but a whole complex of means are necessary to enhance security of sustainability of development in Lithuanian regions. In decreasing inter-regional contradictons a special role may be played by purposeful support provided to export by the state that would help to diversity its marketable structure and extend assortment of imported ready producton” (Bernatonyte, Vilke, Volochovic, 2009).

In research on the influence of regional factors on the start-up rato conducted in Japan, the following measures were used: demand factors and costs (populaton growth rate, average wage in the manufacturing sector), human resources (unemployment rato, the rato of university graduates, rato of employment in professional and technical occupatons), fnancing (the rato of householders as possibility of the start-up fnancing), industry agglomeraton (density of establishments, proportons of manufacturing plants) and industry structure. Moreover, the researchers analyzed the average business size, the access to express statons, highway interchanges and the role of the public sector expressed as local servants to the populatons. The results of conducted studies show strong positve influence of demand factors, human resources, effects of industry agglomeraton, effect of average business size and trafc access on the start-up processes. A negatve influence on this process was atributed to costs and householder rato. As underlined by the authors, “These results give emphasis to the importance of the local accumulaton of qualifed human resources as supportng factor of start-up actvites” (Okamuro, Kobayashi, 2006). This is reflected, among others, in positve correlaton between the

increasing number of start-ups in regions characterized by a larger share of higher educaton workers and higher employment in professional and technical occupatons. There is also a positve correlaton between the number of new enterprises and the number of real estate owners, because housing’s ownership can be a good collateral and safety net for the founders. The smallest enterprises are created the fastest (Okamuro, Kobayashi, 2006).

In their research, H. Westlund i R. Bolton assumed that entrepreneurship remains in close associaton with social capital; they also took into consideraton the New Economic Geography approach, according to which in a region wage surplus is created beside producer and customer surplus (Westlund, Bolton, 2003). Similarly, as resultng from the study of S.Y. Lee, R. Florida and Z. Acs, special signifcance for creaton and development of small and medium-sized enterprises should be sought for in social characteristcs, and partcularly in the influence of human capital and social diversity on entrepreneurship: „the results suggested, that one needs to pay atenton to the social habitat of a region to boot a regional entrepreneurial dynamics” (Lee, Florida, Acs, 2004). It is being underlined that the more diverse regions try to atract more creatve human capital by lowering the entry barriers, which ultmately results in business creatvity.

A special type of the region – entrepreneurship relaton occurs in periphery regions, less developed and unfavorable in terms of conditons for creatng and running a business. Studies conducted by P. Vaessen and D. E. Keeble enabled them to formulate the following conclusions. „First, small business growth is possible under different territorial conditons, including different levels of competton and market between regions and differences in the occupatonal and skill structure of labor market. Secondly, many SMEs do not remain passive towards external pressures and constraints imposed by their regional environment. Instead, enterprises in peripheral regions may actvely and even successfully work to develop strategies to overcome these constrains. Those frms success may acquire so much business expertse and market intelligence that they can even outstrip their counterparts in more favorable, resource-rich environments. In this way an inital locaton disadvantage may ultmately beneft rather than inhibit company growth and performance” (Vaessen, Keeble, 1995).

S. Venkataraman, in the study of changes in a region induced by entrepreneurship, emphasizes that in many scientfc descriptons major atenton is paid to tangible elements, such as: legal regulatons, capital market, modern system of transport and communicaton (Venkataraman, 2004). These features are highlighted by the author as partcularly important, as they – according to Schumpeter’s approach - enable the enterprise to functon in the region, and create conditons for techno-entrepreneurship development. The author also emphasizes the importance of intangible elements, partcularly in the regions of developing countries, however these remarks may also be used in less developed regions of transforming countries. „Many developing regions are characterized by cultures that celebrate and depend on traditon. The most talented people are directed into positon in which they are not rewarded for making bold bets. As a result, unconventonal ideas, companies, projects, and products do not emerge. People who become entrepreneurs under these circumstances do so as a last resort. They may be unemployed, underemployed or handicapped, and their efforts generally result in low-quality enterprises”. Such conditons, where venture capitals or risk capital are not interested in investng in such regions, and government programs do not additonally support this kind of entrepreneurship, consolidate a traditonal structure, low business culture and ultmately low level of region’s wealth. And people with innovatve ideas emigrate to developed knowledge centers with universites. In order to retain them in the region and undertake the effort of its transformaton by supportng technopreneurial actvity, S. Venkataraman suggests such intangibles:

  • local points capable of producing novel ideas: access to insttutons that produce new knowledge,
  • the need for right role model,
  • the need for informal forums of entrepreneurship as well as the need for region-specifc ideas to be created, access to entrepreneurial educaton and experience,
  • the need for safety nets and the culture of acceptng failure,
  • the need for gateway cites to large markets for their products and services,
  • the needs for executve leadership.

Similar conclusions with regard to possibilites of creaton of various forms of informaton exchange forums and local leaders were formulated by economists studying this problem in a chosen region of Greece. They underline the signifcance of regional informaton centers, discussion forums and training programs, diffusion and creaton of knowledge in equalizing the opportunites of partcular regions and conditons of entrepreneurship functoning (Dimitriadis, Simpson, Andronikidis, 2005).

Results of studies conducted in Poland

Literature on the subject distnguishes many relatonships between the region and entrepreneurship. Measuring these relatonships on a local level, six groups of determinants can be distnguished (Krajewski, Śliwa, 2004):

  • morphological,
  • demographic,
  • economic,
  • organizatonal,
  • structural,
  • relatonal.

Morphological determinants are connected with a size of a region, locaton, climate conditons, surface terrain, water and soil conditons, and demographic determinants refer to the characteristcs of broadly understood human capital: populaton size and structure, including the division based on qualifcaton, mobility inclinaton. Economic determinants – generally speaking - are related to the level of economic development; partcular role of the possibility to gain external capital by small and medium-sized enterprises is underlined. Under organizatonal determinants we understand the quality of a functoning of local authorites; structural and relatonal determinants refer to the entrepreneurship area: the former describe the level of adjustment of enterprises locaton to the resources and market, the later characterize the network of internal and external connectons between partcular partcipants of economic space (Krajewski, Śliwa, 2004).

K. Safn, in turn, distnguishes three groups of determinants of entrepreneurial development: personality of the small and medium-sized enterprises owner, mesoeconomic and macroeconomic conditons. Among local determinants he lists: locaton, society educaton, actve attude of local society, local authorites ability to ratonally formulate plans. (Safn, 2005).

The most detailed and valuable research on relatonship between characteristcs of a region and entrepreneurship in Polish literature was conducted by K. Wach. Considering the results of analysis made in the Małopolska and Śląsk regions in 109 small and medium-sized enterprises and in 150 communes, the authors characterized regional frameworks, which determine the conditons of creaton and development of this size of enterprises (Wach, 2007). Such 16 factors were taken into account as:

  • B2B services,
  • business rent prices,
  • closeness to/from co-operants,
  • closeness to/from sales market,
  • closeness to/from suppliers,
  • commercial fnancial support,
  • image of the region,
  • IT infrastructure,
  • living standard of local community,
  • local policy in favor of SMEs,
  • public fnancial support,
  • regional business associatons,
  • regional business support centers,
  • regional labor resources,
  • supply of business ofces,
  • transport and physical infrastructure.

The author, by querying entrepreneurs and local authorites, revealed certain differences in percepton of pro-development factors among these two groups. According to entrepreneurs, the most important factors in this regard include IT infrastructure and the proximity of sales market and suppliers. Commune’s authorites believe that most important stmuli of entrepreneurship are also sales market proximity, quality of local policy in favor of SMEs and image of the region. In an entrepreneurs opinion the least signifcant factor for their development are public fnancial support, local policy towards business and commercial fnancial support. In these felds local authorites express similar judgment. They are convinced that commercial fnancial support, public fnancial support and business rental rates are irrelevant for business success.

In studies of relatonships between the region and entrepreneurship, K. Wach emphasized not only the factors supportng this process but also its barriers. And thus, the most important regional barriers to SMEs development include: inefcient public fnancial support, local policy in favor of SMEs and commercial fnancial. Entrepreneurs additonally believe that their development is unlikely to be blocked by supply of business ofces, IT infrastructure and proximity to cooperants. As for communes authorites, the most burdensome are insufcient commercial and public fnancial support. Business rental rates can also be perceived as high burden. Very signifcant differences in percepton of most important barriers by local authorites and business enttes occur in regard to local policy in favor of SMEs. In communes, this barrier took the 14th place on the list, while for entrepreneurs it ranks as second most important obstacle. Other irrelevant barriers in communes opinion are regional labor resources and image of the region.

Regional determinants of development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Poland – empirical studies

The scope of research suggested by the authors of this artcle is slightly different than proposals of authors cited earlier. We decided to analyze the determinants of SME sector’s development of efciency, dividing natonwide data into provinces. The necessary data was collected from GUS (Central Statstcal Ofce in Poland) and EUROSTAT. Data used in panel studies covered the years 2003-2008. In its inital form, the panel encompassed 16 provinces, 3 dependent variables and 11 explanatory variables. Methodology of econometrics recommends including in the inital model the widest possible set of economic variables, which helps explain the behavior of dependent variable. Further, with the use of the econometric model, an atempt was made to evaluate the signifcance of regional factors in the development of micro, small and mediumsized enterprises. The classical least squares method was used. While using this method, it is necessary to defne a set of hypotheses, which the econometric model is to confrm or reject (Górecki, 2010). A zero hypothesis is always formulated in such a manner, that a given explanatory variable has no influence on a response variable, and the alternatve hypothesis means that this influence exists. The next stage was to defne the equatons of regression – a GRETL sofware was used – which is the base for interpretaton of correlatons between variables. In further stages of the model improvement, the set of explanatory variables was reduced.

The dynamics of enterprises’ efciency growth in partcular categories was measured with the volume of revenues generated by the enterprise of a given category per one employee in thousands PLN. The parameters, which are dependent variables in the proposed models are presented in table 1.

Table 1. Dependent variable in estmated econometric models
No.Dependent variableRevenues in average enterprise in Poland per employee [thousands PLN]
1 dynamics of micro-enterprises development 146,2 200,3
2 dynamics of small enterprises development 315,2 388,5
3 dynamics of medium enterprises development 285,8 412,2
Source: Bank of regional data of GUS.

Independent variables used in these studies do not cover the entre scope of regional environmental factors presented in previous sectons due to data inaccessibility. Among dependent variables, the representatves of the following areas are missing: fnancial support, local authorites initatves, entrepreneurship infrastructure, B2B services and communicaton infrastructure or socio-psychological profle of entrepreneur. The model, however, includes the variables describing labor source (actve people, wages, unemployment, tertary educaton, HRST, LLL), social mobility (permanent and temporary migraton), local living standard (disposable income) and indirectly referring to technology (R&D expenditure). One of the factors, namely the volume of investments in enterprises, is a characteristc feature of enterprises themselves and not a category of a regional environmental type (table 2).

As a result of calculatons made with the GRETL sofware, a series of numerous parameters of formulated econometric models was achieved. The most important of these, referring to a reduced number of most signifcant determinants, are presented in table 3.

Table 2. Independent variables used in models
Independent variableShort nameUnitAverage value in Poland in
Percentage of society professionally actve aged 24-65 Actve people % 44,4 44.6
Average gross wage Wages PLN 2 315 3 158
Average monthly income at a disposal of one person Disposable income PLN 683 1007
Investments per employee in enterprises Investment thousands PLN 17,5 30.0
R&D expenditures per citzen in PLN R&D expenditure PLN 119 202
Unemployment rate Unemployment % 19.6 7.1
Percentage of people studying at levels 5-6 (ISCED 1997) Tertary educaton % 5.2 5.7
Human Resources in Science and Technology* as a populaton rato HRST % 16.6 21.4
Long life learning as percentage of age populaton from 24-65 LLL % 4.4 4.7
Balance of permanent migraton as a percentage of entre populaton Permanent migraton % 0.036 0.039
Balance of temporary migraton** Temporary migraton % from -0.76 to 0.46 from -0.51 to 0.4
* These resources are defned either by educaton or current profession. As for the educaton, HRST includes qualifed citzens with at least higher educaton (ISCED 5-6), also unemployed and inactve, and those without higher educaton, but performing tasks requiring specialized or technical higher educaton. More informaton on this subject can be found, for example, in a document, Retrieved from: htp://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_SDDS/Anne-xes/hrst_st_sm1_an1.pdf [21.11.2009].
** This line presents range of balances in a given year in all provinces in Poland. Source: Bank of regional data of GUS and EUROSTAT.

All presented models are characterized by the empirical value of parameter F much higher than critcal value taken from tables of F distributon, which means that the hypothesis about insignifcance of equatons of regression should be rejected.

Similarly, the coefcient of determinaton R2 reaches an acceptable level in around 85% of the cases of small and medium-sized enterprises, and 68% of the micro enterprises. This indicates that in presented models, respectvely 85% and 68% of variability of the response variable is described by total variability of all explanatory variables in a given model, and 15% or 32% respectvely of variability of the dependent variable is unexplained.

Coefcients calculated in the frst model, regarding microenterprises, assume reasonable values. Their interpretaton leads to the conclusion, that revenue per one microenterprise’s employee increase of 0.186 thousand PLN if the R&D expenditures per citzen are increased by 1 %. On the other hand, we will encounter a decrease in revenue per employee of 2.11 thousand PLN if the unemployment rate increases by 1%. An explanaton of such result may be explained (although the model has not indicated it) in the decrease in demand caused by the decrease in the citzens’ fnancial resources. This explanaton seems reasonable, especially when considering the fact that microenterprises usually operate in local markets. A decrease of microenterprises development dynamics (of 1.78 thousand PLN in revenue per employee) is also recorded if the percentage of professionally actve citzens increases by 1%. The only explanaton of such a state of affairs may be the fact that a greater number of professionally actve people entails a greater number of workers, with a relatvely constant turnover in the enterprises sector in this region. Revenue per one employee in microenterprises also decrease by 27.52 thousand PLN, if the balance of temporarily migraton compared to the size of the entre populaton increases by 1%, which means that the number of citzens leaving the region will increase. The change in revenue is notable, but we should remember that the balance of temporary migraton did not exceed 0.76% in any of the provinces in the given period. Therefore a change of migraton balance of 1% is rather improbable.

Table 3. Parameters of econometric models
Type of enterpriseSignifcant explanatory variablesratop-valueR2F
Micro R&D expenditure 0.186 <0.00001 0.683246 F (4.91) = 49.07
F005 = 2.47
Unemployment -2.110 <0.00001
Actve people -1.782 0.00042
Temporary migraton -27.523 0.00187
Small Actve people -4.013 <0.00001 0.867859 F (5.90) = 118.21
F005 = 2.32
R&D expenditure 0.343 <0.00001
Wages 0.049 0.01928
Temporary migraton 82.926 0.02243
HRST 6.201 0.03508
Medium Wages 0.243 <0.00001 0.844924 F (5.90) = 98.07
F005 = 2.32
Temporary migraton -60.4516 0.00411
R&D expenditure 0.262 0.00611
Disposable income -0.251 0.00949
Tertary educaton 15.6317 0.02246
Source: Own.

The model explaining the development dynamics of small enterprises shows several similarites to the model regarding microenterprises. Development dynamics of small business enttes as in micro-enttes, also depends on the research and development expenditures, percentage of professionally actve citzens and temporary migraton. In case of the frst two factors, the directon of correlaton between explanatory and dependent variables is the same, only the sensitvity of dependent variable to the fluctuaton of explanatory variable in case of small enterprises is greater than in case of microenterprises. And so, the revenue per employee in small enterprises increases by 0.343 thousand PLN, if the research and development expenditures per citzen in the region increase by 1 %. Revenue per employee of small enterprises will decrease by 4.013 thousand PLN if the percentage of professionally actve people increases by 1%. It is hard to explain the fact that an increase of temporary migraton balance of 1% causes an increase of revenue per employee in small enterprises by as much as 83 thousand PLN. The increase of efciency dynamics of small enterprises is also influenced by wages and the amount of Human Resources in Science and Technology. In case of the frst parameter, an increase of 1% causes an increase in revenue per employee in enterprises of this category of 49 PLN, and the increase of HRST share in populaton of 1% yields an increase of the development dynamics meter in small enterprises of 6.2 thousand PLN. Both these facts can easily be explained, as a wage increase in a region translates into an increase in demand, and the increase in the rato of people connected with science and technology normally translates into an increase of margins in businesses. It is so, because usually in such conditon the enterprises located in a given region tend to sell more sophistcated, innovatve goods and services.

The last model describes medium-sized enterprises. Their development depends mainly on the wage level. Each tme it grows by 1%, the revenues per one employee increases by 243 PLN. The directon of influence of migraton on economic enttes in this category is the same as recorded in the case of microenterprises. Revenue per employee decrease when the balance of people leaving the region is positve. Each 1% increase in this balance causes a decrease in revenue per employee of 60.45 thousand PLN. A positve influence on the development of medium-sized enterprises is also recorded in the case of increases of expenditures on research and development and the percentage of people acquiring higher educaton. An increase of R&D expenditures per citzen of 1 %, as well as the increase of a number of university students in a populaton of 1%, causes an increase of revenue per employee in enterprises of 0.26 and 15.63 thousand PLN respectvely. In case of medium-sized enterprises it is hard to explain however, why an increase of disposable income of one citzen should cause a decrease of revenue per employee in this category of enterprises (increase in disposable income of 1% causes a decrease of revenues per employee by 251 PLN).

The presented models outline an image of factors (those, which were studied) which most signifcantly affect the development of SMEs sector (table 4). This group should most of all include the amount of expenditures on research and development and the wage level in a region. The influence of migraton on performance of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises was inconclusive. In case of the actve people factor, there are no prerequisites to queston its influence on changes of average revenue per employee. A larger number of professionally actve people can in fact contribute to a decrease in value of measured dependent variable. We cannot state however, that minimizing the percentage of actve people brings socio-economic benefts, which the model suggests. Other explanatory variables were signifcant only in individual models, therefore it was assumed that their influence on the development of the entre SMEs sector is weak.

Table 4. Most important factors influencing the efciency development of SMEs sector
Explanatory variableNumber of models in which the variable was signifcantUnambiguity and directon of influence on response variable
R&D expenditure 3 Unambiguous, increase of expenditures results in the increase of SME’s development dynamics
Temporary migraton 3 Ambiguous, in two cases the revenues per employee decrease along with temporary negatve migraton in a region; in once case a reverse relatonship was found.
Actve people 2 (micro, small) Unambiguous, a decrease of revenues per employee was recorded with an increase of the percentage of professionally actve people. Such relatonship is controversial.
Wages 2 (small, medium) Unambiguous, increase of wages causes slight increase of revenues per employee.
Unemployment 1 (micro) Decrease of unemployment has positve impact on enterprises’ efciency dynamics.
Disposable income 1 (medium) Increase of disposable incomes causes the decrease of enterprises’ efciency dynamics.
Tertary educaton 1 (medium) Increase of the number of students positvely influences the rate of development of enterprises
HRST 1 (small) Increase of Human Resources in Science and Technology causes the increase of enterprises revenues dynamics.
Source: Own.

The region, in which the expenditures on R&D (the most important SMEs’ growth factor) grew the fastest is Świętokrzyskie province (table 5). An increase of 624% is impressive, however, these expenditures in 2003 were extremely low - 10 PLN per citzen (Poland’s average at that tme was 119 PLN). In this case we are certainly encountering a low base effect. Very good results in this regard were also achieved by Zachodniopomorskie, Pomorskie and Podlaskie provinces. A decrease in dynamics of research and development expenditures was recorded in Lubuskie province. Generally poor results were also achieved by Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Opolskie and WarmińskoMazurskie provinces.

Table 5. Dynamics of R&D expenditures in partcular provinces in years 2003-2008
Province35Base level [PLN per citzen]Increase in R&D expenditure [%]
Lubuskie 33 -15.2
Kujawsko-Pomorskie 49 27.8
Opolskie 27 44.8
Warmińsko-Mazurskie 37 52.4
Podkarpackie 55 53.6
Łódzkie 106 57.2
Śląskie 80 63.9
Mazowieckie 389 64.1
Wielkopolskie 107 68.2
Małopolskie 160 70.2
Lubelskie 63 76.2
Dolnośląskie 89 78.7
Podlaskie 32 95.9
Pomorskie 90 99.3
Zachodniopomorskie 34 117.4
Świętokrzyskie 10 624.0
Source: Own preparaton based on GUS data.

Considering the increase of wages (the second most important SME’s development factor), frst place in this summary belongs to Dolnośląskie, Pomorskie, Lubelskie and Opolskie provinces (table 6). The lowest dynamics of positve changes in the level of wages were recorded in Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Lubuskie, Podkarpackie and Mazowieckie provinces. It is worth notng, that differences in partcular regions between the wage dynamics are lower than those regarding research and development expenditures.

Table 6. Wages dynamics in partcular voivodeships in years 2003-2008
ProvinceBase level [thousands PLN]Increase in R&D expenditure [%]
Warmińsko-Mazurskie 2.00 30.6
Lubuskie 1.99 33.3
Podkarpackie 1.95 34.1
Mazowieckie 3.01 34.3
Kujawsko-Pomorskie 2.00 34.5
Wielkopolskie 2.13 34.7
Zachodniopomorskie 2.13 35.0
Łódzkie 2.02 35.4
Świętokrzyskie 2.02 35.6
Śląskie 2.38 36.1
Podlaskie 2.04 36.6
Małopolskie 2.11 37.6
Opolskie 2.09 37.7
Lubelskie 2.00 38.9
Pomorskie 2.26 40.3
Dolnośląskie 2.23 40.4
Source: Own preparaton based on GUS data.


Regional diversifcaton may signifcantly influence the efciency development of small and medium-sized enterprises. Research in this regard is a startng point in the formulaton of the right economic policy for a country. They may also indicate which of the dependent factors and in what conditons signifcantly contribute to the socio-economic development. Among the research results cited in this publicaton, the factors that most frequently influence the development of the SME sector are: physical infrastructure, fnancial support, business-tobusiness services, regional policy in favor of SMEs, well-qualifed labor resources and fnally knowledge and technology transfer.

Studies conducted by the authors were aiming at identfying the important regional environmental factors in Poland. A certain limitaton in formulatng the econometric model for this purpose occurred in form of lack of some statstcal data and unquantfable nature of some of regional environmental factors. The task was also impeded by the requirements necessary to create a reasonable model, namely the necessity to consider relatvely long term series of variable. Nevertheless, the models regarding micro, small and mediumsized enterprises were created and their reliability is satsfactory. Based on these models a conclusion was made that the factor most strongly connected with the efciency development of enterprises in all categories is research and development expenditures. The higher those expenditures are, the more dynamically the enterprises develop. Other determinants with unequivocal and directly proportonal influence on the development of SME sector are:

  • wages,
  • tertary educaton rato,
  • number of Human Resources in Science and Technology,

An inversely proportonal relaton between SMEs’ efciency growth and factors conditoning it was notced in the case of such variable:

  • actve people,
  • unemployment,
  • disposable income.


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  1. Central Statstcal Ofce in Poland.