Exporting businesses more often innovative

25/07/2006 14:00

Businesses exporting goods or services to foreign markets are more often innovative than those only producing for the domestic market. This applies to all sectors and to small and large businesses alike.

One quarter of businesses are innovative

Approximately one quarter of Dutch businesses were engaged in innovative activities in the period 2002–2004. Nearly 40 percent of exporting businesses are innovative, as against 18 percent of businesses producing solely for the domestic market.

Innovation and exports

The phenomenon that exporting businesses are more innovative than those producing for the domestic market applies to all sectors. It becomes evident in manufacturing industry, where one quarter of producers focusing on the domestic market are innovative as opposed to nearly half of producers operating internationally. With 19 and 32 percent respectively, the difference is less conspicuous in the services sector. The largest differences are found in the sectors agriculture, minerals extraction, energy and construction. In these sectors, just 11 percent of businesses only active for the domestic market are innovative; 35 percent of exporting businesses in these sectors are innovative.

Innovative businesses by market, 2002–2004

Large international companies more often innovative

Large companies are more often innovative than smaller businesses. Only 22 percent of businesses employing 10 to 50 persons are innovative, as against 59 percent of companies employing 250 or more persons. The fact that internationally operating companies are more often innovative than those focusing on the domestic market applies to small and large businesses alike. In the category businesses employing 10 to 50 persons, the share of innovative businesses among exporting businesses is 34 percent, i.e. twice as large as among non-exporting businesses (17 percent).

Innovative businesses by number of people employed, 2002–2004

Martje Roessingh