Successful Start-ups and Businesses in Emerging Economies
Edited by Ruta Aidis and Friederike Welter
Chapter 3: Struggling to Survive: The Case of a New Technology-based Enterprise in Belarus
3. Struggling to survive: the case of a new technology-based enterprise in Belarus 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...
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