SMEs & Sustainable Growth

Stream on “SME Start Up, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainable Growth”
as part of the 17th Annual International Conference on Management
1-4 July 2019, Athens, Greece
Sponsored by the Athens Journal of Business & Economics

Stream Leaders:

  • Dr. Sharon Claire Bolton, Vice President of Research, ATINER & Professor, The Management School, University of Stirling, Scotland.
  • Dr. George Burt, Professor, The Management School, University of Stirling, Scotland.

The Management  Unit of ATINER will hold a Stream on “SME Start Up, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainable Growth”, 1-4 July 2019, Athens, Greece as part of the 17th Annual International Conference on Management, 1-4 July 2019, Athens, Greece sponsored by the Athens Journal of Business & Economics.

It is long recognised that small business are engines of economic growth and social stability. When small businesses are founded on sustainability then economies, communities and the environment flourish (Gibbs, 2009). Recent research reveals that internationally, SMEs are focused on building ethical, transparent and sustainable customer and supplier relationships with 18% of all respondents being described as Socially Responsible SMEs who have sustainability as an integral part of their business model (Oxford Economics, 2018). According to the OECD, it is SMEs who are the dominant form of enterprise that will offer innovative solutions to environmental and social problems (OECD, 2017).  Nevertheless, SMEs (including Start Ups) face many challenges; including financing, market entry, political turbulence and skill shortages (ESRC, 2016; OECD, 2017) and are often overwhelmed by such challenges so that a focus on sustainability becomes lost (Post and Altmann, 1994).

So why and how does a business start, become and remain sustainable? A sustainable organisation is one that uses resources efficiently and effectively, is competitive, maintains and improves its environment and supports the wider goals of sustainable development including social benefits through community, supply chains and staff involvement (Porter and Linde, 1995; Prakash, 2001).  Our approach to sustainability supports this view as it includes a concern for environmental issues but combines this with, for example, strategic foresight, policy and planning, best practice people management, equality and diversity, responsible leadership, and innovation and entrepreneurship. Such an approach creates a framework that captures the complexities, dynamics and realities of involving and empowering a range of stakeholders in support of developing sustainable futures.

Sustainability needs to address and balance the interests of three areas: economy and enterprise, environment (in its widest sense), and society, harnessing the creative tension between these three elements to bring about transformational change. This is especially important when resource consumption currently runs at ‘three planets’, with the world consuming sustainable resources by mid-August annually (SEPA, 2016). However, examples of how businesses become sustainable in practice and theory are limited. Our focus here is particularly on empirical contributions involving case studies of small and medium sized enterprises, including start-ups or mature companies who have transformed their practices. Theoretical contributions that can offer new frameworks to better understand the challenges faced by SMEs in achieving sustainability are also very welcome.

Hence, the stream particularly encourages papers interrogating links between small and mediums sized businesses, their leadership and management practices and the three pillars of sustainability (economy, environment and society). We encourage multidisciplinary, alternative viewpoints, and methodologies; wishing to bring together a wide range of approaches to engage in meaningful dialogue on the issue of sustainability and how we can better understand and support businesses that are ‘born sustainable’.

Whether academic, practitioner, business or non-profit worker, come and join us and help to advance knowledge and best practice on sustainability in its broadest sense.

Fee structure information is available on

Special arrangements will be made with a local hotel for a limited number of rooms at a special conference rate. In addition, a number of special events will be organized, including a pragmatic symposium (as organized in Ancient Athens but fine-tuned to synchronous ethics), a special one-day educational island tour, a Myceanae and island of Poros visit, an Athens educational walking tour, a day trip to Delphi, and an ancient Corinth and Cape Sounion visit. Details of the social program are available here.

Please submit an abstract (email only) to: and using the abstract submission form by the 27 May 2019 to: Dr. Sharon Claire Bolton, Vice President of Research, ATINER & Professor, The Management School, University of Stirling, Scotland. Please include: Title of Paper, Full Name (s), Current Position, Institutional Affiliation, an email address and at least 3 keywords that best describe the subject of your submission. Decisions are reached within 4 weeks.

If your submission is accepted, you will receive information on registration deadlines and paper submission requirements. If you want to participate without presenting a paper, i.e. lead a stream, chair a session, review papers to be included in the conference proceedings or books, contribute to the editing of a book, or any other contribution, please send an email  to Dr. Gregory T. Papanikos, President, ATINER & Honorary Professor, University of Stirling, UK(

The association was established in 1995 as an independent world association of Academics and Researchers. Its mission is to act as a forum where Academics and Researchers from all over the world can meet in Athens, in order to exchange ideas on their research, and to discuss future developments in their disciplines.

The organizing and hosting of International Conferences and Symposiums, the carrying out of Research, and the production of Publications are the basic activities of ATINER.  Since 1995, ATINER has organized more than 400 International Conferences and other events, and has published close to 200 books. In 2012, the Association launched a series of conference paper publications (click here), and at the beginning of 2014, it introduced its own series of Journals (click here).

Academically, the Association is organized into Divisions, 37 Units and 6 Centers.  Each Unit organizes at least an Annual International Conference, and may also undertake various small and large research projects.

Academics and Researchers are more than welcome to become members and to contribute to ATINER’s objectives. If you would like to become a member, please download the relevant form (membership form). For more information on how to become a member, please send an email to: