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From obstacle to opportunity: Problem-solving and competence creation in new firms


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Hugo, Oliver 
Garnsey, Elizabeth 


This paper aims to identify how entrepreneurial responses to ‘barriers’ can give rise to opportunities for new firms. The poor predictive record of studies analysing success attributes and favourable initial factors as determinants of new firm growth reflects the diversity of entrepreneurial responses to problems of growth, as illustrated by three case studies of new companies which were able to overcome adverse initial conditions despite the lack of early ‘success attributes’. They did so by finding alternative opportunities and by achieving resource economy, resource leverage and resource creation, aided by strategic relationships formed with other players. Spurred by the problems they encounter, entrepreneurial firms revise their business conjecture and engage in innovative activities, their business model evolving through trial and error. Creative responses to unexpected developments by entrepreneurial decision makers have implications for research methodology and business support.



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