Associate Professors at Aalborg University Business School Yariv Taran and Mohammad B. Rana

AAU Contributes to Sustainable Business Model Innovation for Scandinavian SMEs

A new research project will investigate and develop tools for socially sustainable business models for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Sweden and Denmark.

A consortium comprising eight partners has received a grant from the European Regional Development Fund to carry out an action-oriented project aiming to investigate and develop tools for socially sustainable business models for SMEs in Malmö, Halmstad, Kristianstad, Aalborg, and Viborg. Associate Professor Mohammad B. Rana from Aalborg University Business School (AAUBS) sits in the steering committee of the project.

- This cross-border study will investigate the current scenario of the existing business models in SMEs in the five municipalities. We will pinpoint the gaps in consideration of business value and social sustainability, develop the tools and methods to innovate the business models. We will also assist the SMEs in implementing the tools and methods for innovating the business models so they will be socially sustainable and more value adding, says Mohammad B. Rana.

An unattended and less-prioritized dimension

According to Mohammad B. Rana and his AAUBS project partner Associate Professor Yariv Taran, small and medium-sized enterprises tend to have resource constraints. Therefore, they are likely to focus on economic sustainability and, in some cases, environmental sustainability.

- The social sustainability dimension is unattended and less-prioritized. To focus on it, SMEs need to investigate the organisational and management structures, value creation, delivery, and value appropriation mechanism as to whether they are aligned and benefiting employees, customers and society. We are very glad that the EU has a focus on regional development and supports a cross-country project like this which businesses in Scandinavia can benefit from, says Mohammad B. Rana.


  • The eight partners in the project are Industriellt Utvecklingscentrum Syd AB, Sweden (coordinator), Aalborg University Business School, Business Viborg Denmark, Industriellt Utvecklingscentrum i Halland AB, Region Skåne Malmo, Region Halland Hamstad, VIA University College, Denmark, and Högskolan i Halmstad, Sweden. Sweden initiated the project and is the coordinator.
  • The project will last until September 2022.


Associate Professor Mohammad B. Rana, Aalborg University Business School, phone: +45 9940 8231, email:
Associate Professor Yariv Taran, Aalborg University Business School, phone: +45 9940 9948, email:

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