Characteristics of technology-based ventures

  1. The development and commercializationof modern technologies by small, newly established firms is the most distinctive symptom of changes in the small business sector at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. That time saw the emergence of a new, dynamic and innovative entrepreneurial sector with important influence on the functioning of the global economy. The essence and scale of the phenomenon will be discussed in this section.

  2. The so-called high-technology new firms (HTNFs) are surrounded by misunderstandings, also with regard to the definition.These entities are most often associated with high technology sectors (industries such as space, IT, pharmaceutics, radio and TV, communications, medicine, precise and optical instruments). These are industries with high intensity research and development expenditures. According to the sector definition of high technology enterprises, such small and medium-sized firms in the European Union accounted for 4% of the entire population of enterprises, i.e. approximately 750,000 entities.

  3. At the same time, a broader concept of innovative firms is used, including all entrepreneurial initiatives implementing technological innovations, i.e. new products or new or significantly improved production methods, as well as innovations inorganization, management or marketing. Such business initiatives may be taken by all kinds of firms, not necessarily only those belonging to the high technology sector. Assimilation of the already existing technologies which have not been used by a given firm is also treated as innovative activity. Empirical tests conducted in the 1990s in the OECD countries indicate that 30-60% of small and medium-sized enterprises can be regarded as innovative according to the broad definition.

  4. In general, it seems indisputable that ambitious entrepreneurs should be innovative. What is subject to a lively debate, however, is whether the implementation of innovative technologies is really the best way to business success. Is it not better to implement a less risky strategy, involving creative imitation of the already existing solutions and hope for a quick and certain flow of income and profits? Unfortunately scientific studies in this area do not offerclear and unanimous answers.