Understanding SME Success in the Value-added Forest Products Sector: Insights from British Columbia

Philip Grace, Robert Kozak, Harry Nelson

Abstract


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the value-added forest products sector play an important social and economic role in Canadian forest-dependent communities. In British Columbia (BC), the sector is not reaching its full potential. Many factors limit or enable growth of the value-added forest products sector in BC. This study seeks to assess what factors are most integral to success through an in-depth examination of four value-added forest product sector SMEs in rural BC representing four different types of firms with varying levels of performance. The results of the study indicate that, though factors typically considered vital such as access to skilled labour, fibre supply, location, and financial capital are integral to business success, business management skill and firm size are integral and often-overlooked factors. The results of this study point to a need for a better province-wide understanding of the barriers to success commonly faced by forest products SMEs, particularly barriers to management skill development.  


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