Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Successful Start-ups and Businesses in Emerging Economies

Edited by Ruta Aidis and Friederike Welter

Little is known about innovative and successful enterprises in the countries that, until 1990, were part of the Soviet Union. Most previous research has extensively covered barriers to entrepreneurship and innovation that exist in these countries, some of which undoubtedly represent a hostile and harsh environment for any entrepreneurial activity. In this book, a different perspective is introduced. The focus is shifted to the innovative potential that these environments provide, demonstrating how entrepreneurs have been able to convert possibilities in hostile business environments into successful businesses. Through this collection of six in-depth case studies, the authors illustrate how successful and innovative businesses were able to develop in countries such as Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Moldova and Ukraine. Each case study presents an overview of the country’s key economic indicators and the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the economy, followed by the presentation of a case study of a successful SME.

Chapter 3: Struggling to Survive: The Case of a New Technology-based Enterprise in Belarus

David Smallbone, Anton Slonimski, Anna Pobol and Sheila M. Puffer

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, organisational innovation, innovation and technology, organisational innovation


David Smallbone, Anton Slonimski and Anna Pobol INTRODUCTION This chapter is concerned with the development of a technology-based business in one of the harshest operating environments for private business anywhere in the world. The fact that the business has survived in such conditions since its establishment in 1992 is an achievement in itself, although its development path reflects specificities of the Belarusian context, which include major institutional deficiencies (Smallbone and Welter 2006). At the same time, some of the development issues and challenges that the firm has faced are shared with young technology-based firms in mature market economies. Sinta is a successful enterprise in the Belarusian context, where private firms are few and far between and survival itself can be a major challenge. Apart from surviving for 14 years, the enterprise is solvent and has not been subsidized by government loans or grants; nor is it currently indebted to its employees (through unpaid wages), which is a common feature of small business development in transition conditions. It is a privately owned innovation-based enterprise, albeit one that has yet to achieve sustained commercial success. THE ENVIRONMENT FOR BUSINESS IN BELARUS In terms of external conditions, the operating environment for business in Belarus is currently one of the most hostile in the world. Based on EBRD assessment, Belarus is one of the transition countries where only slow progress has been made with respect to the reforms required to establish a market economy. Together with Turkmenistan, Belarus is at the...

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