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Innovative Entrepreneurs in Handicraft Businesses : Unintentional Opportunity Discovery and Motivation for Exploitation

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abstract Although entrepreneurial research focuses often on newly founded ventures, opportunity discovery is highly relevant in existing small- and medium sized businesses as well. Entrepreneurs are challenged by discovering a second, third or fourth opportunity to gain future competitive advantage. These entrepreneurs are embedded in networks with customers and suppliers which are important for the transfer of relevant information for opportunity discovery. In this respect, interactions with customers can lead to the transfer of information about their problems and needs which can be relevant for opportunity discovery. Innovative customers such as lead users (Lettl, Hienerth and Gemuenden, 2008; von Hippel, 1986) transfer their needs to existing firms due to their high motivation to find a solution to their problems. Although there is much research done analyzing the motivation of customers to transfer such information, only little studies could be found which research why entrepreneurs exploit specific customer requests and how they search for a technical solution to solve this indicated customer problem. This is especially relevant, when entrepreneurs have to make costly efforts to gain an immense amount of expertise and knowledge for opportunity exploitation.
To answer these questions, I analyze two extreme cases of entrepreneurs in Swiss handicraft industry using case study methodology. This industry is characterized by a high proportion of small- and medium-sized enterprises and a strong competition often leading to low margins for companies in general.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
keywords Unternehmertum, Kleine und mittlere Unternehmen, Innovation, Unternehmer, Handwerk
   
project Innovationsmanagement
name of conference 57th ICSB International Council for Small Business World Conference ICSB (Wellington, New Zealand)
date of conference 10-6-2012
title of proceedings 57th ICSB World Conference
page(s) 23 (S. 816-839)
volume / edition 1. Auflage
publisher ICSB (Washington)
ISBN 978-0-9819028-4-5
review double-blind review
   
profile area SoM - Business Innovation
citation Fust, A. (2012). Innovative Entrepreneurs in Handicraft Businesses: Unintentional Opportunity Discovery and Motivation for Exploitation. In 57th ICSB World Conference, 1. Auflage, pp.23 (S. 816-839). Washington: ICSB. - ISBN 978-0-9819028-4-5.