The Cutting Edge

The Cutting Edge

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in New Europe

Edited by Ruta Aidis and Friederike Welter

This original selection of case studies from eight new EU member countries looks at the ability of entrepreneurs to develop innovative and successful firms in an environment of turbulent social and economic change.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Ruta Aidis and Friederike Welter

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


Ruta Aidis and Friederike Welter Currently, there is a dearth of information regarding innovative (and successful) enterprises in the countries that have most recently joined the European Union and which are often referred to as ‘New Europe’. In the past, much emphasis has been placed on the barriers to entrepreneurship and innovation that exist in these countries. In this book, we shift the focus to the innovative potential that these environments provide and how entrepreneurs have been able to convert these possibilities into successful businesses. Through this collection of eight in-depth case studies, we illustrate how successful and innovative businesses were able to develop in each of these countries. The idea for such a book emerged from our research in Central and Eastern Europe and our interests in how enterprises developed during transition and after these countries joined the European Union. Both editors have come across fascinating stories showing the enormous adaptability of entrepreneurs in these countries that are often not reflected in statistical research. We hope that in sharing some of these stories with a wider audience this collection will contribute to deepening our understanding of what constitutes entrepreneurship and innovation in an enlarged Europe. Each case study highlights specific aspects of the interplay between the institutional setting, the environment and the individual characteristics of the entrepreneur that created an ‘enabling context’ for innovative behaviour to develop and grow, drawing attention to the opportunities and constraints offered in each environment. Additionally, each case study presents an...