Microbusiness Innovation Science and Technology (MIST) Project
Very small businesses, or microbusinesses, are a vital but often neglected part of the economy. Sometimes they are major innovators, being the first to bring new technology to our economy. They frequently operate differently than larger companies. For example, microbusinesses are typically more flexible and able to change more readily than larger corporations. They are more likely to have volunteers or family members perform some of the work.
Although larger businesses are regularly studied, relatively little is known about the smallest businesses—those with fewer than five employees (i.e., microbusinesses). The Microbusiness Innovation Science and Technology (MIST) Survey will collect research and development and other innovation-related data from small, independent U.S. microbusinesses.
- Collect national statistics on R&D expenditures and other related statistics among microbusinesses in the United States.
- Allow for a better understanding of the innovative activities conducted by microbusinesses in the United States.
- Collect statistical data on U.S. competitiveness in science, engineering, and technology.
- Help policy makers address issues such as how microbusinesses are affected by the rapid changes in our economy and what microbusinesses are doing to be competitive.
- Pretest Study, completed fall 2012. The study tested the effectiveness of collecting data from microbusinesses in the United States.
- Pilot Survey, fall 2013. Study results are being used to guide the fall launch of the pilot survey; its methodological findings will be published in 2014.
- Full-Scale Survey, summer 2015.
Survey Population for the Pretest Study and Pilot Survey
The sample for MIST will be drawn from all independently owned corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships in the United States with fewer than five employees and in operation during 2011.
- R&D and innovation funding
- Demographic and entrepreneurial characteristics of the business owner
- Sales of significantly improved goods and services
- Operating agreements and licensing activities
- Technology transfer and knowledge diffusion
- Patents and intellectual property
- Sources of technical knowledge
- Measures of firms’ entrepreneurial effectiveness
For additional information about this effort, contact
Research and Development Statistics Program
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965
Arlington, VA 22230
Phone: (703) 292-2332