The Cutting Edge
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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.
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Chapter 2: Dekonta: A Post-Velvet Revolution Fairy Tale of Diversification and Internationalization

Kate Bishop


2. Dekonta: a post-Velvet Revolution fairy tale of diversification and internationalization Kate Bishop INTRODUCTION This chapter describes the growth and development of a knowledge-based entrepreneurial venture, Dekonta a.s.,1 one of the leading waste management, consulting and engineering companies in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic makes for an interesting back drop to the case study: after the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in November 1989 and the subsequent separation into two republics in 1993, Czechoslovakia underwent fundamental economic and political reform to become a democratic, stable, market-oriented economy. Under the previous centrally-planned system entrepreneurship had been severely restricted; therefore one of the key policy tasks was to create the incentives and conditions conducive to private sector development. Despite suffering from two recessions caused by the initiation of the transition process and the Velvet Revolution, the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector has grown and the share of organizations with 50 to 249 employees increased from 21.2 per cent in 1994 to almost 25 per cent in 2000 (UNIDO 2001). However compared to other EU countries the number of SMEs is relatively low as several barriers to private sector development persist, namely poor availability of finance and burdensome tax regulation. The issue of knowledge-based entrepreneurship is becoming more and more important in both advanced Western European countries and for the new member states of the EU as it offers a number of opportunities. For example, it can multiply the channels by which scientific knowledge is transferred to...

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