Edited by David Smallbone, Friederike Welter and Mirela Xheneti
Chapter 7: Cross-border cooperation and innovation in SMEs in western Ukraine
Increasing competition in the global market means that innovation and internationalization are of vital concern to all enterprises. In border regions cross-border cooperation offers many potential advantages for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Promotion of innovation activity as grounds for competitiveness of businesses is one of these advantages; it is of particular value to transition economies suffering, among other deficiencies, from a low level of innovation in SMEs. Castellacci et al. (2005) undertook a comprehensive review of modern trends in innovation studies. With regard to innovation in SMEs, a comparative evaluation of nearly 40 different innovation policy tools in 11 European regions is discussed in Asheim et al. (2003). Aidis and Welter (2008a; 2008b) identify a number of peculiarities of innovation practices among SMEs operating in unfavourable, transitional business environments. The enlargement of the European Union, and European Commission policies related to it, have given new impetus to studies of cross-border cooperation between nations, regions, institutions and individuals, and particularly to research focusing on ‘new’ borders within Europe and those with new neighbours of the EU. Researchers of cross-border cooperation (CBC) in Ukraine have studied Ukrainian state relations with its neighbours, but also border trade and scholarly exchange (Clem and Popson, 2000; Van Houtum and Scott, 2005; Scott, 2006; Williams and Balaz, 2002). As yet, little has been published on the relationships between cross- border cooperation and innovation in SMEs in a transition environment.
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