International Conference on SME Social Responsibility and Opportunities at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP Conference 2008)

Venue: Cochin

Location: Cochin, Kerala, India

Event Date/Time: Aug 02, 2008
Abstract Submission Date: Sep 30, 2008
Paper Submission Date: Oct 30, 2008
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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), ever since they emerged as an identifiable analytical category, are virtually, a trivia in the policy platforms. While, on the one hand, they have gained significant importance in the public platforms, they do not often get the importance they deserve at the policy level, as also in practice. In a nutshell, while being relatively visible in public policy platforms, they are much less visible as a collective entity, while suffering from a serious invisibility syndrome which essentially emerges from their role as individual entities.

The traditional concept of an SME, is of an entity which is confined to the limited immediate market, with smaller firm size, and technology which is characterized by adverse capital- output ratios. A change in this objective setting influence the SMEs, individually and collectively, for a change in their behaviour patterns as well. This essentially implies a change in the business culture itself.

Under globalization, there is an alternative business culture which is guided by the flow of information. The consumers, and the community as a whole, are increasingly aware of this, and therefore, expect new patterns of behaviour. ‘Responsible business’ is the process by which a company, large or small, manages, measures and reports its commitment to improve its behaviour and impact on society and the environment. This is managed within the company through its operations, products or services and through its interactions with key stakeholders such as, employees, customers, investors and suppliers.

The distinguishing feature of the community of SMEs is its atomism; hence, they constitute the bottom of the pyramid. Beyond what is legally bound, they do several socially meaningful things, the so-called ‘responsible business’practices, though not properly articulated on those lines.

Since SMEs have a culture of ‘responsible business’ embedded in them, for all advocates of sustainable development, there is reason to align with or mentor them . Likewise,SMEs have a strong business case in being increasingly articulative in responsible business practices.

The key questions emerging in this context are the following:

(1) Should there be a defined public policy space for SMEs, or will an environment of fair competition make the market work out what is due to the SMEs?
(2) If there is such a defined space, does it contradict with the criterion of an environment of competition?
(3) What are the range of proactive policies that can be advocated for SME promotion? Do they conflict with the criterion of competitiveness?
(4) How can,a business case for SMEs, to get themselves assume responsible business practices, articulated from live experience?

This Conference contributes to such an enquiry in the following ways:

(1) to stimulate discussion on ways to make the SME sector a more viable and sustainable engine of growth, in an accelerated setting of globalization;
(2) to serve as a forum for entrepreneurs, managers, academics and researchers to meet and share information, knowledge and experience;
(3) to promote networking and collaboration among practitioners, academicians, and various related stake holders;
(4) to help the corporate sector and the various development support agencies explore and understand the opportunities of engaging with the lower layers of the business eco system more vigorously; and
(5) to identify pressing areas of concern ,in which much greater investigation and research are needed.

The Conference theme is built upon the renewed emphasis, both nationally and internationally, on entrepreneurship and opportunities in micro, small, and medium enterprises. The diversity within this field, and the continuing emergence of new areas ,such as inclusive growth strategies, and the role of social enterprises, and the case of very small enterprises, present exciting challenges to policy makers, practitioners, educators and researchers.

A key aim of the Conference is to bridge the gap between theory and practice in entrepreneurship and SME development, and to highlight the practical and policy implications of recent research and experience. Another aim is to engage and share experiences with a wider international community. Improving understanding of the contexts, policies and practices, will not only inform support for the initiatives at the “bottom of the pyramid” domestically, but also prepare them for the challenges on a wider global stage.

The specific objectives of the Conference are the following:

1) To examine the international trend in responsible business theory and practice, and the opportunities in relation to SME promotion.
2) To compare and contrast the international lessons with that of a fast growing economy like India.
3) To deliberate on the trade -off between promotion of innovation, with that of enterprise creation, in a comparative setting.
4) To deliberate on the strategy options available, against the national and international experience and initiatives so far, and the comparative role of various stake holders.
5) To explore and spell out opportunities of international co operation in SME development initiatives.
6) To examine the effectiveness of the prominent SME development strategies today, against an emerging environment of competition.

Presentations are invited on the following main themes, and other related topics . Preference will be given to papers based on original research, and routine notes are not entertained.

Conference Submission

This Conference recognises the importance of learning and sharing experiences from varying perspectives, and welcomes contributions that approach themes from different points of view. The key groups recognised as having a particularly relevant contribution to offer include:
• Researchers investigating the context, processes, behaviours and metrics of entrepreneurship
• SMEs, Social Enterprises and NGOs who are interested in presenting some interesting case before an international audience, and to seek opinion, or to explore opportunities.
• Educators & Trainers determining the nature, content and delivery of knowledge, skills relating to entrepreneurship and local level planning
• Policy makers influencing the context, funding and support - nationally, regionally and locally
• Practitioners engaged in the start-up, development, growth, maintenance and performance of enterprises
• Advisers, Consultants & Mentors offering guidance and advice in a variety of contexts
• Support Agencies & Financiers engaged in incubation, creation, development and growth
• Networks & Representative Bodies providing networking opportunities & information dissemination
• Corporates who are interested in engaging with the SMEs

Submission of Abstracts

Abstracts, very crisp and precise, are invited from interested persons. They should be 700 words in length and should be in 12 font size, Times New Roman. Abstracts should be submitted as a Word document. All abstracts will be blind refereed. Submissions are taken to be an original work, not published or accepted elsewhere. To be published in the proceedings, at least one author must register and present the paper at the conference. The maximum number of submissions per registered author is 2. The official language for both submission and presentation is English.

Submission of Full Paper

Where the abstracts are acceptable, the same will be intimated to the author within a week’s time. The final submission may be made on the basis of this. The full paper should be submitted at the earliest in order to ensure further comments and revisions. Authors should aim to produce a high quality paper that adds to existing knowledge in the Theme area of the Conference. Completed papers should be no more than 5,000 words, and must be in the specified format for publication. Papers that receive a conditional acceptance must satisfy all of the conditions before final acceptance. The organisers reserve the right to accept or reject a paper. At least one author must register and attend the whole Conference. Papers, not supported by a formal registration (with full payment of fee) will not be reviewed and further considered for presentation.



Additional Information

BOP 2008 is an excellent opportunity of a strong partnership of all those who matter in CSR and SME development. The event creates the largest interface for national and international interaction, and an platform for exploring wider business opportunities within the sector. This is an opportunity to develop sustainable long-term business relationships. There would be an effective high impact visibility and unlimited scope to reach the target audience through varied media channels. Institute of Small Enterprises and Development has an enviable position as an SME think- tank in India, and our Conferences have a great reputation as dynamic arenas for networking and discussion. Whether you are looking for tangible business leads, maintain relationships with existing clients and business partners, or raise awareness of your organization’s programme and solutions, we have a range of marketing packages that are, specially tailored: • We have a database of more than 20000 SME professionals , and practitioners in CSR numbering over 10000 • The ISED SME Small Enterprise Observatory offers a significant platform to reach a wider clientele in the above areas regularly • The reach is further ensured and scaled up through the platform of the International Network on SMEs in Local Economic Development The Conference offers a variety of opportunities, ranging from exhibition opportunities to networking. Be a Sponsor NOW, and enjoy the following privileges! For more details, please visit, or write to us at