Main Article Content
This article aims at assessing the innovative performance of Italian SMEs through the analysis of the many dimensions which together define firms’ innovative capability. The European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) classifies Italy as a moderate innovator. However, when disaggregating the data, it is possible to observe that Italy performs below the European average, when considering Innovation Enablers (e.g. Human Resources, R&D and Financial Support) and Firms’ Innovation Activities, and above the European average, when focusing on the the Output of innovation, i.e. its economic effect on exports and sales. Thus, it seems that Italian SMEs have been able to exploit agglomeration economies, due to the fruitful activity of industrial districts, and have been the actors of a success story, which combines growth and innovation. Finally, the article identifies and briefly examines three key questions: the impact of capital structure on innovation, the role of public funding in addressing R&D strategies and the potential benefit of the cooperation between firms and universities.