United States

OECD Kansas City Workshop



8 May 2008


A Contribution to the OECD Innovation Strategy

The OECD held an international workshop in Kansas City on innovation and the global impact of high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The workshop debates fed into the OECD study on “High Growth SMEs, Innovation, Intellectual Assets and Value Creation” by focusing on the following questions: 

  • To what extent can the difference in performance between HGSMEs and other firms be explained by differences in the way they manage their intellectual assets?
  • To what extent is there a statistically-significant correlation between high firm growth and high levels of innovation amongst SMEs?
  • Is being innovative a sufficient or necessary factor in distinguishing HGSMEs from other SMEs? If not, what are the other factors?

Twenty experts from around the world presented their recommendations on how policymakers can encourage entrepreneurship and the fast growth of innovative small firms.

The workshop was organised by the Working Party on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Entrepreneurship (WPSMEE) of the OECD, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the U.S. Department of Commerce.  It took place on May 8, at the Kauffman Foundation headquarters in Kansas City.

“High-impact SMEs often use new ideas and concepts in their process of growth and can change the face of civilization rather rapidly,” said Kauffman Foundation President and CEO Carl J. Schramm. “This workshop will bring about a better understanding of what strategies new and small businesses use to achieve successful growth and the policies that governments can follow to help them develop.”

The workshop was opened by David Bohigian, Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Pier Carlo Padoan, OECD Deputy Secretary-General.


The four main sessions discussed:

The Importance of High-Impact Business Formation in all Economies

Analysed the role of high-impact businesses as job creators and explained how they spur innovation. Chaired by Craig Hakkio, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

From Invention to the Marketplace

Identified how universities, research institutions, start-ups and existing small businesses can take intellectual property to the marketplace in the fast growth process. The session also discussed how national, regional and institutional policies can support this innovation. Chaired by Susanne Huttner, former Director of the OECD’s Science, Technology and Industry Directorate.

From Invention to the Marketplace: Acquiring knowledge and intellectual assets

Provided an understanding of the interaction between large firms and SMEs in the fast growth process and how to promote an environment to encourage the development of intellectual assets. Chaired by Helmut Kräme-Eis, head of Risk Management, European Investment Fund (EIF).

Internal Workings and Management of High-Growth SMEs

Analysed how leadership, planning and customer focus can positively impact innovation and high growth. Chaired by Tony Greenwell, general manager, Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Australia.

“The OECD is undertaking a new, multi-year activity to determine what countries can do to encourage innovation in their economies,” Pier Carlo Padoan said. “It will be important to fully assess how universities and other education institutions, as catalysts for innovation, can help SMEs to take the results of their research to the market place.”


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About the co-organisers

Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. The Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman.

Information about the Kauffman Foundation is available at

International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce

The International Trade Administration (ITA) of the Department of Commerce is creating prosperity by strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promoting trade and investment, and ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements.  provides access to ITA's information and services regarding U.S. international trade policy. For businesses wanting to expand their export markets, visit the U.S. Government Export Portal, For entrepreneurs seeking more information on international entrepreneurship visit or