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 7: Taking Advantage of Transition: The Case of Safety Ltd in Latvia

Arnis Sauka and Friederike Welter


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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