Business Model Innovation in SMEs

a systematic literature review

  • Lucio Marques Peçanha Instituto Federal do Espírito Santo


To innovate in their business model, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have to be open to innovation, i.e., open to new technologies and sustainable practices among other possible strategies. The sustainability is crucial in this as the circular economy is growing as a new paradigm and the digital transformation and industry 4.0 are building knowledge around it. The organisations must, therefore, be aware of these contemporary practices and try to include the sustainable perspective into their business models. Many scholars produced knowledge related to business model and innovation, yet no systematic literature review (SLR) relating business model innovation to SMEs was found. Therefore, this SLR explains that phenomenon by answering to three research questions: (1) How the studies of business model innovation have evolved? (2) What are the challenges that SMEs have to struggle to innovate their business model? and (3) What are the trends in the study of business model innovation? 247 documents retrieved from the Web of Science database were submitted to the analysis protocol. The final sample of 122 records was submitted to bibliometric analysis using the R software and Vos Viewer software. Additionally, there was a content analysis of the articles to find trends, identifying clusters and presenting the results of condensed information in the form of tables and figures. Those results allowed the proposal of a framework for business model innovation in SME. At last, the conclusions and future studies agenda are presented to support new studies.