The network is based on the premise that Northern regions constitute different and sometimes challenging contexts for businesses. Such conditions include small and spatially dispersed local markets, insufficient infrastructure and difficult logistics, a limited pool of talent, limited access to venture capital and so forth. While other networks focuses on how public policies and interventions can improve these conditions, this network acknowledges that these conditions probably never will be optimal and seek to identify business models that neutralizes some of these threats while capitalizing on local opportunities. Thus the network adopts the perspective of the individual business and individual managers and asks how managers and businesses can best operate within this given context. Emphasis is on small (≤10) and medium (≤100) sized private companies that operate and are owned within Northern regions.

Overall Goal

  • Develop new knowledge on managing SME’s in the North.
  • Contribute to the development of new educational material (cases) and courses on managing SMEs in the North.
  • Enabling SME’s in the region through new, updated and relevant knowledge about managing SME’s in the North.

Main Activities

  • Conducting case studies including comparative case studies
  • Organizing courses on case-writing, enabling faculty in the region to develop case-material from regional businesses
  • Develop curriculum and educational material based on real business cases on SME’s in the North.
  • Organizing internship exchange between educational institutions and businesses in different countries
  • Facilitating the development of contacts and collaboration between business- and management scholars from different countries in the North (e.g. through the dissemination of ongoing research and publications, workshops and faculty exchange).
  • Disseminating findings to regional SME’s through local workshops or meetings

Current and Planned Activities

  • New research group established on Strategy, Governance and Leadership with specific focus on managerial challenges in Northern SMEs. The group will have particular emphasis on some of the paradoxes and dilemmas associated with operating and competing in and out of the Northern rural communities. The group was established in 2016 and includes members from three of UiT The Arctic University of Norway’s campuses (Harstad, Tromsø and Alta).
  • Book project on managing SME’s in the North (e.g. effective business models for SME’s in the North).

Past Activities

  • Project on Managing Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in the North (2012-2015), financed by the Norwegian SIU (Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education). The project was carried out in collobaration with Murmansk Internatinal Business School and Syvtyvkar State University. Total grants awarded NOK 2 756 000 (378 175 Eur). The project included:
    • Internship exchanges between Norwegian and Russian institutions of higher education
    • Workshops on case-development
    • Course on the management of SMEs in the North
  • The Thematic Networked organized a session at the 2016 UArctic Congress in St. Petersburg
  • Two papers were presented on the 4th Biannual Conference of Nordic Rural Research, Akureyri, Iceland. Paper titles and abstract links below:
    • Staying Local and Competitive, Northern SME’s Construal of Community and Business Strategies – Reactions to Economic Crises. Click here for abstract.
    • The Place of Pace in Northern Rural SME strategies. Click here for abstract.