KNOWLEDGE-DRIVEN BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OF SMEs IN FOOD SECTOR IN THE GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

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Small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) are the core engine of most economies around the world. Empowering SMEs with the right tools, especially those utilised to formulate business models, would help them thrive more successfully. This study aims to provide such business development support tools to the food sectors SMEs of the GCC. This research focuses on the SMEs in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) processed food sector. First, an extensive literature review was conducted on business development and business development tools, the business models. It was found that the Business Model Canvas is the most advanced tool in the market, yet the model is not fully exploited in terms of business development and growth. A field study involving 36 companies within the GCC region's food industry was conducted. The findings indicated three main problems faced by SME’s; product-market-fit, business planning and finance. Hereafter, Lean start-up was applied in a case study on a frozen yogurt producer from the region. The findings from the case study showed that the lean start-up approach minimises the product-market-fit problem and, hence, provides a more explicit structure for business planning and finance. Furthermore, the case study findings were presented to six industry practitioners to evaluate the lean start-up method. Based on their evaluation; the model was modified to incorporate market regulations as an additional block. A set of measurement (KPI’s) was added to the model to develop a revised model named the Knowledge-Driven Business Model Canvas (KD-BMC). Finally, the KD-BMC was validated through a case study on two companies in the food industry in Saudi Arabia and further evaluation was gained from six experts in the field. Results of validation were discussed and concluded in the final chapter of this research. Keywords: Business Development, Business Models, Business Model Canvas, Knowledge Management, KPIs, GCC, Food industry.
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