Business Network: Meaning & its Objectives.... What is SME Networking?


A business network is a complex network of companies, working together to accomplish certain objectives. These objectives, which are strategic and operational, are adopted by business networks based on their role in the market. There are two categories of business networks — business associations and company aggregations — that help small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to become more competitive and innovative.

Several descriptions of business networks stipulate different types of characteristics:

• A business network is a form of inter-firm cooperation that allows companies, located in different regions or countries, to collaborate on a basis of common development objectives expressed in a cooperation agreement. The companies decide to join their strengths, share information and create synergies to become more innovative and competitive in domestic and international markets, while keeping their autonomy, not creating a separate legal entity. This cooperation model is suitable for any kind of business activity or sector.

• A business network is greater than the sum of the individual businesses. It incorporates suppliers, customers, third-party developers, distributors, and others. These third parties generally have a strong reason to support the network and remain active in it.

• A business network is generic and includes both smart and not-so-smart business networks. A smart business network is defined as a group of participating companies (nodes) that are linked together by one or many communication networks (links). The companies have compatible goals and interact in innovative ways. A smart business network is perceived by each company as increasing its own value and is sustainable as a network over time.

• A business network is owned by the business enterprise, where the scope of the network is to support the informational and operational requirements of the business, such as marketing, sales, accounting, and manufacturing departments.

Business networks have two types of objectives — strategic and operational — that are adopted depending on the role of the business network in the market. 

What is SME Entworking?

......Identification of Potential Clients, Providers, and Competitors in Supply Chain Networks

A set of SMEs that cooperate by exchanging goods or information to reach a common objective.

In the last years Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) were driven to aggregate in industrial networks, due to the need to compete in a globalized market, but also to the aspiration to provide sufficient stability for their own small business.

SMEs belonging to networks share objectives and strategies with the other SMEs, while preserving their own individual autonomy. One of this network type is the supply chain, where companies collaborate with one or more other companies depending on the sector they belong. A typical problem in this context is to evaluate the place of a new SME inside the network, i.e., the number of potential clients, suppliers and competitors that the SME would have. The goal of this work is to offer an method to analyze the potentiality of existing SME networks based on public information available on the Web.

One of the most significant paradigm of modern business management is that individual businesses no longer compete as solely autonomous entities, but rather as supply chains. In today’s global marketplace, rapid technology development, globalization and customers’ varied expectations are changing the type of markets' competitions and firms no longer compete as independent entities with unique brand names, but rather as integral part of supply chain links.

In this work, an ontology representing the relationships among activities performed in a supply chain is defined and used to detect the potential relationships among SMEs in a network.