Innovation and Entrepreneurship in New Europe
Edited by Ruta Aidis and Friederike Welter
Chapter 8: Being Entrepreneurial in Poland: New Conditions, New Opportunities, New Undertakings
Anna Rogut and Kazimierz Kubiak INTRODUCTION Polish entrepreneurship has long traditions, reaching back to the nineteenth century. It continued to develop even during the decades of the centrally-planned economy, entering a true renaissance period in the 1980s, when it was used as a vehicle for limited reforms of Poland’s socialist economy (Piasecki 1997). The 1990s brought even more incentives for the further development of entrepreneurship, with the launching of the process of political and economic transition. In particular, it was the latter phenomenon that greatly contributed to transforming the ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ in thousands of Polish people into an active force committed to the development of a variety of forms of private business. As a result, the 1990s saw a more than ﬁvefold increase in the number of registered private businesses (mostly small and medium-sized), reaching 2 915 821 at the end of 1999 (Dzierz anowski and Stachowiak 2001). ˙ This phenomenon was accompanied by a gradual change in the perception of the role of the entrepreneur (Rogut 2002). Whereas in the ﬁrst stage of the transformation it followed the Schumpeterian tradition where ‘new ﬁrms with the entrepreneurial spirit displace less innovative incumbents, ultimately leading to a higher degree of economic growth’ (Audretsch 2003, p. 5), later on, the Kirzner tradition prevailed, which stressed the ability to observe the market and the readiness to take advantage of opportunities unnoticed by others (Kirzner 1979). A good example of the latter tradition is Mieczysl⁄ aw Kozera, who is the main protagonist of this chapter....