Innovation and Entrepreneurship in New Europe
Edited by Ruta Aidis and Friederike Welter
Chapter 7: Taking Advantage of Transition: The Case of Safety Ltd in Latvia
Arnis Sauka and Friederike Welter INTRODUCTION Recent studies on entrepreneurship in Latvia (for example, Kuzmina 1999), along with those conducted for other transition and new EU member countries, suggest that there are some distinctive features of entrepreneurship in a transition setting (Smallbone and Welter 2001, 2006), such as a higher level of education, a more intensive involvement in informal networks, short-term strategies and a ‘learning by doing’ approach. In this light, both the external environment and the distinctive personal characteristics of transition entrepreneurs can inﬂuence various types of innovation in these countries. The aim of this chapter is to provide further insight into this for a new European Union member state, namely Latvia. More speciﬁcally, we focus on revealing the inﬂuence of the speciﬁc transition context on the ability to convert new innovative opportunities into successful businesses, drawing on the case of Safety Ltd to illustrate this. The chapter is structured as follows: the next section outlines the background for entrepreneurship and innovative businesses in Latvia, while the following two sections deal with the inﬂuence of pre start-up events on the entrepreneurial start-up decision. The ﬁfth section concentrates on the business start-up in an early transition context, discussing issues such as developing a business idea by taking advantage of opportunities created by a speciﬁc environment. The sixth section deals with the further development of the company, before the ﬁnal section oﬀers some conclusions. This chapter highlights the role of innovation in an external...
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