New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Börje Johansson and Roger R. Stough
Chapter 2: Regions in Competition and Cooperation: Opportunities for Cross-Border Collaboration in Support of Irish Micro-Enterprises
Jim Bell, Denise Crossan, Patrick Ibbotson and Fred Scharf 2.1 INTRODUCTION Regardless of whether they are targeting domestic or international markets, small firms face considerable challenges due to inherent financial, human and managerial constraints, an absence of planning and a lack of market knowledge (Carson et al., 1995; Morgan, 1997; Burpitt and Rondinelli, 2000). Arguably, micro-enterprises face many of these problems even more severely due to greater limitations of size (Autio et al., 2000; Lamb and Liesch, 2002; Westhead et al., 2002). Moreover, in small open economies many of these problems are exacerbated by the need to develop international markets due to the limited size of the home market and the need to pursue ‘niche’ strategies (Bell et al., 2004). In these circumstances the need to provide targeted and effective public policy support for the internationalization of the small business sector is well recognized by academic researchers and public policy-makers alike (Czinkota, 1994; Crick and Czinkota, 1995; Morgan and Katsikeas, 1997; Graham, 1999; Moini, 1998; Welch et al., 1999). Indeed, within the EU many of the support offerings provided by national export promotion agencies focus primarily on supporting smaller indigenous firms (Bell et al., 2004). These include market research support programmes, shared ‘export manager or consultant for hire’ schemes and export ‘network’ programmes, which were originally pioneered in Scandinavian countries and have also been introduced in Australia and New Zealand (Camino, 1991; Nesheim, 1994; Welch et al., 1999). This contribution posits that there is sufficient evidence from the empirical research...
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