Edited by David Smallbone, Friederike Welter and Mirela Xheneti
Chapter 1: Entrepreneurship in Europe’s border regions
This volume is concerned with entrepreneurship and economic development in Europe’s border regions, focusing on the effects of EU enlargement, both within the EU and in neighbouring countries. Particular attention is paid to cross-border entrepreneurial activity, which we refer to as cross- border entrepreneurship. A wide range of types of entrepreneurial activity can take place across international borders, from informal shuttle or petty trading activity at one extreme to formalized joint ventures and strategic alliances between enterprises at the other. At a global level, the increasing internationalization of production systems inevitably leads to the development of cross-border operations, in forms that include partnerships of different types. These include subcontracting, joint ventures and franchise arrangements, which can operate at different spatial scales. Although the existing evidence base is limited, there are examples of cross-border cooperation involving SMEs in different parts of the world, which demonstrates the potential contribution of this type of activity to regional development. For example, the economic success of the southern provinces of China from the 1980s onwards largely came about because of the highly efficient cross-border SME alliances and joint ventures involving mainland Chinese businesses and Hong Kong-based SMEs (Ze-wen et al., 1991). In Europe, a large number of cross-border partnerships have emerged, which involve German and Austrian SMEs working with SMEs in post-Communist economies, such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, as well as between Greek and Bulgarian SMEs (Huber, 2003; Krätke, 2002; Labrianidis, 1999).
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