Portfolio Entrepreneurship in Slovakia - Empirical analysis of small and medium sized enterprises

Diploma Thesis, 2012

141 Pages, Grade: 2


Table of contents

1 Introduction and objectives
1.1 Portfolio entrepreneurship in Slovakia
1.2 Research objectives, delimitation and research questions
1.2.1 Objectives
1.2.2 Delimitation
1.2.3 Research questions
1.3 Structure of the diploma thesis

2 Definition of portfolio entrepreneurship
2.1 Entrepreneurship definition review
2.1.1 Novice entrepreneur
2.1.2 Serial entrepreneur
2.1.3 Portfolio entrepreneur
2.2 SME´s in the context of portfolio entrepreneurship
2.2.1 Quantitative SME approach
2.2.2 Qualitative SME approach
2.3 Slovakia and CEE region
2.4 Entrepreneurial structure
2.4.1 Joint stock Company
2.4.2 Limited liability Company
2.4.3 Sole Trader
2.5 Trait & behavioural approach
2.5.1 Trait approach
2.5.2 Behavioural approach

3 Theoretical Part
3.1 General motivations to become self-employed
3.1.1 Pull Influences
3.1.2 Push influences
3.1.3 Entrepreneurial Traits Need for achievement Need for autonomy Locus of control Risk-taking propensity Entrepreneurial self efficacy
3.2 Motivations to become a portfolio entrepreneur
3.2.1 Background and motivations
3.2.2 Entrepreneurial search process
3.2.3 Financing business process
3.2.4 Organizational capabilities
3.2.5 Entrepreneur and business performance
3.3 SME´s clustering in peripheral locations
3.3.1 Stable, independent survivors with no growth aspirations, operating local markets Characteristics of entrepreneurs SME´s life cycle Strategic choices Success and survival factors Recapitulation of the most important facts
3.3.2 Innovator with continuous growth, operating in growing markets Characteristics of entrepreneurs SME´s life cycle Strategic choices Success and survival factors Recapitulation of the most important facts
3.3.3 Efficiency-oriented networker with leap-wise growth Characteristics of entrepreneurs SME´s life cycle Strategic choices Success and survival factors Recapitulation of the most important facts
3.3.4 Comparison of survival factors of the three clusters
3.4 SME´s management in context of portfolio entrepreneurship
3.4.1 Management and entrepreneurial teams
3.4.2 Management team Advantages of a management team Disadvantages of a management team
3.4.3 Entrepreneurial team
3.4.4 Strategies to setup a management respectively entrepreneurial team Management Buy-Out (MBO) Management Buy In (MBI) Buy-In Management Buy-Out (BIMBO)

4 Empirical Part
4.1 Research methodology
4.1.1 Quantitative vs. Qualitative approach
4.2 Qualitative research design
4.2.1 In-depth Interview Cost and Time Background research Limited access to the interviewee
4.2.2 Conducting the in-depth interview Location Interview schedule Analysis
4.3 Conducting research
4.3.1 Search for portfolio entrepreneurs
4.3.2 Taking initial contact
4.4 Results presentation
4.4.1 Interview structuring
4.4.2 General information’s about portfolio entrepreneurs
4.4.3 Push/Pull factors
4.4.4 Traits approach
4.4.5 Motivation to become Portfolio Entrepreneur Background & motivations Entrepreneurial search process Financing business process Organizational capabilities Entrepreneur and business performance
4.4.6 SME´s clustering in peripheral locations Stable, independent survivor with no growth aspirations, operating local markets Innovator with continuous growth, operating in growing markets Efficiency-oriented networker with leap-wise growth
4.4.7 SME´s management in context of portfolio entrepreneurship

5 Conclusion
5.1 Relevancy for entrepreneurship
5.2 Limitations
5.3 Future research

6 List of references

List of Tables

Table 1: Quantitative SME distinction by European Commission

Table 2: Legal units by legal form and size category by employees of Dec. 31, 2010

Table 3: Background and Motivations

Table 4: Entrepreneurial search process

Table 5: Financing business process

Table 6: Organizational capabilities

Table 7: Entrepreneur and business performance

Table 8: SME´s clustering in peripheral locations

Table 9: SME clustering in peripheral locations

Table 10: Most important facts

Table 11: Most important facts

Table 12: Most important facts

Table 13: Survival factors by clusters

Table 15: Structure of economic subjects in Lednické Rovne

Table 16: Sample

Table 17: Push/Pull Factors to become self employed

Table 18: Trait approach

Table 19: Background and motivations

List of Figures

Figure 1: Europe and CEE region

Figure 2: Five personality traits of entrepreneurs

Figure 3: Entrepreneurial traits, The Big five personality dimensions

Figure 4: MBO Process by CCI

Figure 5: Trenčín County, Slovakia

Figure 6: Recognition of new business opportunities

Figure 7: Financing business process

Figure 8: Entrepreneur and business performance

Figure 9: Stable independent survivor with no growth aspirations, operating local markets (I)

Figure 10: Stable independent survivor with no growth aspirations, operating local markets (II)

Figure 11: Innovator with continuous growth, operating in growing markets (II)

Figure 12: Efficiency-oriented networker with leap-wise growth (I)

Figure 13: Efficiency-oriented networker with leap-wise growth (II)

Figure 14: SME´s management

Figure 15: Motivations for establishment of a management team

List of acronyms

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Executive summary

Business in the beginning of the 21-st century faces very turbulent times as the developments on the debt-crises have threatened the European market. These turbulent times are characterized by doubts on financial markets, the rising of state taxes and inflation, which turns also in difficulties for small and medium sized enterprises. Especially the group of small and medium sized enterprises, which cannot benefit from economies of scale and scope and other advantages, are threatened the most. It requires special alertness in spotting ideas and to combine resources to overcome this entrepreneurial disaster crossing Europe. Especially for small export-oriented countries like Slovakia, which depends on foreign trade, must handle this situations very patient and carefully in order to protect their own small and medium sized enterprises and thus its employment rate.

Thus the personality of the entrepreneurs and its continuous flexibility for adaptation to the new circumstances at the markets is one of the main forces in developing healthy economic developments. For this purpose, the individual in the market environment, the entrepreneur, deserves special focus as the carrier of entrepreneurial values. As the empirical data refers, the group of small and medium sized companies is the most common in the market with ranging over 99 % of overall businesses units per country. But it is about the person and its abilities to develop the business from the scratch, into a well working economic unit.

Thus the entrepreneurial research turned to focus on the business man or women, to analyze these individuals in more detail. Many entrepreneurial research directions developed since that time. One of those concentrates on the group of entrepreneurs, whose main characteristic is to own and lead two and more business simultaneously. As a consequence, this diploma thesis main goal is to study this valuable group of entrepreneurs. The outcomes of this analysis come up with certain attributes describing the group of portfolio entrepreneurs. This is important for certain reasons. The group of portfolio owners distinguishes itself from other groups of entrepreneurs above all in the way of doing business, the motivation to lead this business and many others attributes handled in detail in the following diploma thesis. This will answer many questions about the phenomenon portfolio entrepreneur, from the theoretical research as well as the empirical viewpoint. This study encompasses a set of interviews with real portfolio entrepreneurs with the sample of ten individuals.

Accordingly this thesis represents a complex view about portfolio entrepreneurs with special focus on a region of the Slovak Republic, which is the country of analysis. It delivers new insights about the personality and abilities, capabilities, skills and traits of portfolio entrepreneurs. Thus delivers a special significance for the development of portfolio entrepreneurship, which is derived from the entrepreneurship research. Furthermore this diploma thesis represents a kind of forerunner in this research area for the Slovak Republic as no comparable research done on this theme could be researched during the conducting of the analysis.

The reader will have the chance to find out valuable information about the state of the art literature contributed by other authors in the theoretical part of this thesis. This literature research has been developed from English speaking literature and is notified at the end of the diploma thesis, what makes it affordable for subsequent studies. Subsequently, the results of this study, which has been built on the grounds of extensive literature review, will be presented in the results part. These results have been obtained by a series of in-depth interviews with researched successful portfolio entrepreneurs. In consequence the results come up with new, until now not researched results presented in a very user friendly kind, enriched by citations of portfolio entrepreneurs, expressed during the in-depth interview.

Finally the reader will have the chance to read the authors opinion about the relevancy of this study for the entrepreneurship research, as well as the limitations as perceived by the author. Not less relevant are the suggested future research themes as supposed as not sufficiently researched yet in the view of the author. These themes may lay ground for subsequent research on portfolio entrepreneurship, which may be also based on this diploma thesis.

1 Introduction and objectives

1.1 Portfolio entrepreneurship in Slovakia

The importance of the portfolio entrepreneurship is becoming still more recognized as they are tagged as individuals undertaking activities which have significant impact on the creation of new ventures.1 Thus national economies are significantly shaped by these groups of managers, who are estimated as to be the creators of approximately 12 to 20 % of newly founded ventures.2 Furthermore the annual OECD Entrepreneurship outlook published in 2005 described SME´s as the driving force in creating job opportunities and wealth creation.3 According to the OECD the SME´s gathered the world-wide recognition of being a key source of dynamism, innovation and flexibility, what is true for both; emerging and developing as well as advanced economies.4

Slovakia, as a prior communist country, where private business till the fall of iron curtain in 1989 was very hard to undertake, faces emergence of private business nowadays.5 However the time of centralized economy and political dictation was characterised by centralised control about all economic activity and forced nationalization of private business. Furthermore the present political and economic developments are very turbulent. Joined with the growing interdependence of the world economy characterized by falling barriers to free flow of goods and services, advances in communication technologies and decreasing restrictions to free movement of capital, people and natural resources; these caused a considerable change in the business environment.6

Several attempts of legislative support given by governments imposed agencies like National Agency for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises (NADSME) or SME Online (MSP Online) were imposed on the purpose of contributing to the SME entrepreneurship in Slovakia.7 These agencies undertake regular surveys, events, support functions, training programmes, take part on projects and published products to suit all needs of SME entrepreneurship.8

Despite this support to the entrepreneurship, there is still a shortage on problems solved according to the needs and issues portfolio managers face in their day to day business. Missing literature, support and guidance, these entrepreneurs are not able to derive all possible benefits out of the possibilities. They cannot build up knowledge, skills and abilities in organizational as well as managerial way to the full extent. Especially for Slovak portfolio entrepreneurs, these must find their own ways how to lead their portfolio businesses successfully.

This diploma thesis should therefore give a theoretical, as well as, practical support for practitioners and theorists, who are looking for support in doing business as a portfolio entrepreneur. Furthermore it should provide an overview for the legislature makers with valuable information’s which should vice versa help to enhance the entrepreneurial environment in Slovak region.

Another contribution is to analyse the needs, backgrounds, motivations, drawbacks, issues and further more specific information’s about portfolio entrepreneurship. What are the motivations and tensions to establish and enlarge more than one business at a time? What are the triggers to become a portfolio entrepreneur? Where and why portfolio entrepreneurship occurs? Who usually becomes a portfolio entrepreneur? What are the consequences for the economy and employment? How can the national competitiveness be increased through these entrepreneurs?

1.2 Research objectives, delimitation and research questions

The research on portfolio entrepreneurship as a whole could achieve a lot of consideration as the general public, policymakers, scientific research and last but not least the entrepreneurs themselves felt a knowledge deficiency about the phenomenon itself.9 In the authors opinion all of the abovementioned actors are now seeking for increasing the self-efficiency and productivity of the subject of entrepreneurship for very different reasons.10 Starting with the general public, who takes share in the entrepreneurial value creation and wealth creation process undertaken by the private sector. Next the policymakers, whose main objective it should be to ensure a sustainable and sound development of a healthy business environment.

The scientific research could build up a new discipline around portfolio entrepreneurship, where many variations exist and still unanswered questions occur. But the most important group, who is a recipient and implementer of agendas covering entrepreneurship are the portfolio entrepreneurs themselves. Thus this diploma thesis research objective should serve as a conceptual basis for further development. Despite the still growing amount of research done on entrepreneurship, particularly portfolio entrepreneurship, there are huge differences from country to country. Without any doubts the valuable group of portfolio entrepreneurs has been neglected in the scientific literature for long time.11

1.2.1 Objectives

The neglecting of portfolio entrepreneurship is a reason more to undertake such a research in the sparsely researched Slovak territory. In the following paragraph the objectives of this study will be settled in the endeavour to analyse Slovak portfolio entrepreneurs.

- This thesis will be developed for the purpose of gaining information and knowledge about the personality characteristics and the types of businesses founded by portfolio entrepreneurs in the region of Slovak republic
- For this purpose, the state of the art literature about portfolio entrepreneurs will be analysed and classified, in order to build up a sufficient basis for deriving conclusions about the similarities and differences. These conclusions will be either proved or rejected according to the gained primary data from the face to face in depth interviews
- The literature will predominantly originate from English speaking literature. There will be no or very little Slovak empirical literature used about portfolio entrepreneurship, as there is, in the authors opinion scarce literature on portfolio entrepreneurs in this region
- The results of this thesis should be used as the basis for further research on portfolio entrepreneurship. Despite the broad scope of this research, the aim of this study is to find answers on as much questions about what is perceived as favourable and reversed barrier to become and be a successful portfolio entrepreneur. Another issue is to support the further extension of research on entrepreneurship in Slovakia, where basic statistical data about e.g. entrepreneurial statistics are insufficient. Additional data should be collected about the amount of portfolio entrepreneurs, number of employees employed by them, branch heterogeneity and number of enterprises owned by the portfolio entrepreneurs
- Continual analysis and cooperation within the SME infrastructure (NADSME, MSP Online) and the portfolio entrepreneurs should be promoted. One of the objectives is to analyse the level of cooperation among the portfolio entrepreneurs and the government established support organizations. This should lead to a better spread of awareness, acknowledgement and diffuseness of knowledge about the portfolio entrepreneurship

1.2.2 Delimitation

It must be noted here, that it is not the aim of this thesis to find out reasons why usually all types of SME´s fail and what are the reasons for their failure or success. Nor is the aim to derive knowledge and information’s about all SME types in Slovakia. Furthermore it is supposed that the reasons why habitual, novice, serial or portfolio entrepreneurs found their business differ markedly. The main goal of the research is to specialize on analysis of the portfolio entrepreneurship, meaning that other tensions must be clearly delimitated. Additionally the region of Slovakia and its environmental conditions are the only scope of this thesis.

1.2.3 Research questions

Doing research on portfolio entrepreneurs is a very challenging assignment. This is true because portfolio entrepreneurs are known as very heterogeneous group of entrepreneurs, whose main characteristic is to lead, at minimum, two and more businesses simultaneously.12 13 The portfolio entrepreneurship could gain importance only in the short past, while it was for a very long time overlooked or ignored. Only a few authors undertook research on this subgroup of entrepreneurship.14

The most cited author in respect of portfolio entrepreneurship Paul Westhead et al. (2005) defines the portfolio entrepreneur as following: “ ... individual who currently have minority or majority ownership stakes in two or more independent businesses that are either new, purchased and/or inherited. ”15

There are no more delimitating characteristics found in the literature, which could gain broad acceptance among academics. Another reason for why the personality of a portfolio entrepreneur must be analysed as whole is, that there is a scarce literature done so far about personality traits and strategic, organizational capabilities and the size and scope of such entrepreneurs.16

In accordance of these definitions, following research questions are derived. These incorporate the main issues about portfolio entrepreneurship and shall answer the questions about the portfolio entrepreneurship in Slovakia.

What are the personal traits and characteristics of the portfolio entrepreneurs? What are the triggers of becoming a portfolio entrepreneur? Can be any push or pull factors recognized? In which industries is it usual for the portfolio entrepreneur to set up businesses? What are the individual’s background and business characteristics? What can be found about financial, organizational, marketing, production, networking and other capabilities?

1.3 Structure of the diploma thesis

The first Chapter deals with the general introduction the topic of portfolio entrepreneurship in the Slovak Republic. Aim of the first chapter is to define the difficulty of portfolio entrepreneurship in Slovakia, as the main problem statement, and accentuate its importance for the entrepreneurial research. Furthermore the appropriate research methodology will be explained and goals will be settled in accordance with the thesis objectives. Moreover the research objectives will be discussed in order to make clear, what is to be researched and what are the limitations of this study. In the latter part of first chapter, research questions will be stated.

The general definitions about the portfolio entrepreneurship and other important vocabulary needed for coping with this thesis will be analysed in chapter two. These definitions will be derived from deep and wide literature analysis. The main aim of this section is to make the reader familiar with the vocabulary used throughout this thesis. As in some respect the phenomenon portfolio entrepreneurship is derived from the common term habitual entrepreneur and is also very often joined with the serial and novice entrepreneur; clear distinction must be undertaken. This is caused partly by the relative unconscious use of terms and newness of portfolio entrepreneurship in the literature and business research.

Furthermore main motivations, drawbacks, advantages and disadvantages of being a portfolio entrepreneur will be researched in chapter three. The in depth research of portfolio entrepreneurship will reveal theoretical as well as conceptual answers about the traits of portfolio entrepreneurs. It will be cleared, what types of SME´s the portfolio entrepreneurs usually found and why. The theoretical background will be joined with the personality of a portfolio entrepreneur. This information should be a good basis for practitioners, to avoid mistakes in dealing with the phenomenon portfolio entrepreneur. The state of the art literature will be here presented on the purpose to derive valuable conclusions on the empirical part.

The fourth chapter main objective is it to describe the procedure of the used research methodology. This part can also be called the empirical part, where the results of the interviews will be presented and evaluated. Its main objective is it to either confirm or reject the theory about portfolio entrepreneurship on the case studies of Slovak portfolio entrepreneurs. The implementation, conducting of research, act of interviewing and the kind of taking contact and negotiating will be described as well in chapter four. Finally the results will be presented within this part.

Finally chapter five, where the scientific goal of the diploma thesis will be presented, will take place. Conclusions about the thesis will be derived as well as the relevancy for the entrepreneurship. Discussion about the results and future study outlooks will be discussed and performed. Furthermore, the obtained knowledge about the case studies should be used as one of the first theoretical attempts to support portfolio entrepreneurship in Slovak region.

2 Definition of portfolio entrepreneurship

This chapter objective is to provide the reader with reliable knowledge and vocabulary about the portfolio entrepreneurship. Extensive definition review of portfolio entrepreneurship found in literature will provide a construct throughout this thesis. Distinction between habitual, novice, serial and portfolio entrepreneurs must be undertaken for the purpose of avoiding conceptual misunderstandings. In the subsequent chapter the SME in the context of portfolio entrepreneurship will be handled from the quantitative as well as qualitative perspective. Slovakia as a member of the CEE region and the entrepreneurial structure of Slovakia will be defined next. Finally the trait and behavioural approach of entrepreneurs will be discussed in order to define the characteristic individual of entrepreneur. The analysis of the portfolio entrepreneur traits and behaviour plays a crucial role in this thesis.

2.1 Entrepreneurship definition review

In the entrepreneurial theory a basic distinction between the individuals indicated as most influential decision-makers or the typology of businesses owners is crucial for the understanding and avoiding of confusion.17 One of the first intentions to define habitual entrepreneurs as persons who are experienced in founding several firms and who are simultaneously committed to at least two firms was undertaken by MacMillan (1986).18 These habitual entrepreneurs were further divided by Hall into serial and portfolio entrepreneurs, this contribution was crucial as the traits and business strategies of these two groups of entrepreneurs differ markedly.19

The main definitional issues were undertaken by Paul Westhead et al. (Westhead, Ucbasaran, Wright, Binks, 2005), who distinct three types of business owners. In the scientific work of Novice, Serial and Portfolio Entrepreneurship Behaviour and Contributions , novice entrepreneurs, serial entrepreneurs and portfolio entrepreneurs are illustrated as explained below.20 However, the portfolio entrepreneur is the main target group of this diploma thesis, and this is why this group of entrepreneurs is considered the most with all aspects found in the literature review.

2.1.1 Novice entrepreneur

Novice entrepreneurs are characterized as individuals who have no prior experience with minority or majority business ownership either as business purchasers, inheritors, or business founders yet. However, these entrepreneurs own currently a minority or majority equity stake in a business, which has been founded, inherited or purchased.21 Hall (1995) characterized this group of novice entrepreneurs as either preceding stage for serial and portfolio entrepreneurs as independent category.22 This suggestion is supported by the intention of Westhead et al. (1998), who stated that founders in this novice category may themselves become at the later date serial or portfolio entrepreneurs.23

2.1.2 Serial entrepreneur

Serial entrepreneurs are individuals, who were owners to a minority or majority ownership stake in a business, which was either sold or closed. Furthermore these serial entrepreneurs decided to found or purchase a new business, or became inheritors of a business with a minority or majority ownership stake in a single independent business.24 According to Hall (1995) these entrepreneurs own one business after another, but only one business at a time.25 These entrepreneurs occur due to the entrepreneurial inability to develop the enterprise.26 They are seen as relinquishing the business at the right moment, and then repeating the whole process in another business again.27 Other authors suggest that they are often cautious and experience non-specific and uncertain situations as threatening.28 Westhead et al. (2005) describes the strengths of the serial entrepreneur as often joined with certain expertise, whereas outside help shall be necessary in order to reap and exploit the market and to commercialize the know-how.29

2.1.3 Portfolio entrepreneur

Portfolio entrepreneurs are according to Westhead et al. (2005), individuals possessing more diverse experiences, and dispose with more resources than serial or novice entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the group of portfolio entrepreneurs is seen as important sub- group of entrepreneur theory, who make a fundamental contribution to the wealth-creation process.30 These entrepreneurs are individuals, who currently own two or more independent businesses with minority or majority ownership stakes, while the businesses has been founded new, purchased and/or inherited.31 Portfolio entrepreneurs usually aim at expanding their original firm for the purpose of increasing their wealth (Iacobucci, 2002), or at leveraging their profits by developing and seeking for new sources of income in the form of a new investment (Carter, 1998).32 Another reason for the occurrence of portfolio entrepreneurs is the survival strategy, meaning that portfolio entrepreneurs are motivated to establish their portfolio business in order to find alternative income sources in order to survive their businesses.33

Portfolio entrepreneurs can be also found to be seeking for more profitable sources of income on other markets, if they perceive insufficient income situation in their home market in the present context. This seeking for more profitable markets is a motivation for portfolio entrepreneurs to allocate and differentiate their business activities.34 According to Westhead portfolio entrepreneurs are more growth oriented than serial entrepreneurs and more receptive in recognising business opportunities than their counterparts.35 Different reason for why portfolio entrepreneurs occur is if they fund a new enterprise to experiment or to test the performance of a new product, service or idea; thus the entrepreneurs strive to limit the effect of a possible failure and risk.36

The thesis author definition of portfolio entrepreneur, by Branislav Zúrik, is the following:

“ The portfolio entrepreneur is derived from the group of habitual entrepreneurs, where serial and portfolio entrepreneurs can be distinguished. This latter group of portfolio entrepreneurs possess a larger portion of capabilities, skills and resources, what allows them to undertake two and more businesses simultaneously. Furthermore this group of entrepreneurs can be found in very heterogeneous branches within a limited region of performance. ”37

2.2 SME´s in the context of portfolio entrepreneurship

Research experts of entrepreneurship handle the group described as portfolio entrepreneurs as stemming from the group of SME.38 There is a majority of entrepreneurs accounting for more than 99, 7 % classified as SME´s in Slovakia.39 The knowledge about who is considered as portfolio entrepreneur, how to support develop and threat this subgroup of entrepreneurs is missing in the Slovak entrepreneurship research. Despite the clear absence of knowledge derived from real case empirical research done on the personality traits and backgrounds of this group of entrepreneurs, there is a still increasing demand for resources.

The theoretical research about the state of the art definitions by European Commission delivered surprisingly poor information about the SME in the European Union context. As the SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook40, published by the OECD (2005), points out very precisely, the full potential remains remarkably untapped.41 The overall definitions done by OECD is in the authors opinion best suited for the purpose of shedding light on the issues plaguing the SME in international context. This is true also in the light of the international scope of OECD, who embraces EU and non-EU members.

The following definition undertaken by OECD serves as a comprehensive view of all activities and recent developments of SME´s. It poses an either descriptive character what in turn is important for the understanding of scale and scope of SME´s.

“ SMEs and entrepreneurship continue to be a key source of dynamism, innovation and flexibility. They account for over 95% of enterprises, generate two-thirds of employment and are the main source of new jobs. Entrepreneurial activity is especially dynamic in knowledge- based services. Women ´ s entrepreneurship has recently shown vibrant growth. SMEs increasingly engage in cross-border alliances and inter-firm collaboration. SMEs are particularly innovative in knowledge-intensive services, new technology-based firms, showing their capability to renew technology. SMEs increasingly rely on networks, clusters and partnerships for accessing information and new technologies. ICTs and e-business applications present a growing range of benefits to SMEs. To reap the full fruits of innovative activity, SMEs need to use effectively the intellectual property rights system. ” 42

2.2.1 Quantitative SME approach

The executive body of European Union, the European Commission, adopted the Recommendation 2003/361/EC regarding the new SME definition on 6 May 2003. This became active from 1 January 2005 and its main objective is to take account of the economic developments since 1996. It raises financial ceilings in respect of price and productivity increases and introduces a typology of enterprises. Furthermore used calculative methods provide a realistic picture of the economic strength of selected enterprises. The main idea is to deliver a clear distinction among genuine SME and SME being part of a larger group (corporation). This is important in the light of providing economic backing, in the form of SME support schemes, which should be withhold for grouped organizations.

In accordance to the new SME definition we can distinguish between micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In order to be categorized as SME the enterprise must fulfil the various criteria summarized in the Table 1 encompassing staff headcount ceiling, and either the turnover ceiling or the balance sheet ceiling, but not necessarily both.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 1: Quantitative SME distinction by European Commission43

According to this selection micro enterprises are these with fewer than 10 employees and less than 2 millions in turnover or that same sum in balance sheet total. Next we differentiate small enterprises which have fewer than 50 and a minimum of 10 employees while reaching less than 10 millions in turnover or less than 10 millions in balance sheet total. Finally the enterprises characterized as medium-sized have less than 250 employees and less than 50 million in turnover or 43 million in balance sheet total.

2.2.2 Qualitative SME approach

The aforementioned quantitative approach helps to define the SME in absolute numbers by setting limits in headcounts, turnover and balance sheets, but fails to describe the organic principle which plays an even bigger role in understanding the SME issue. These qualitative definitions should provide a better overview of what constitutes the SME from very different angle. It is important to note that there is no commonly accepted qualitative definition of SME rather these provide a catalogue of possible qualitative characteristics. Despite the heterogeneity of opinions about the qualitative criteria, employing these can enhance the quantitative definition.44 This way characterized Preston et al. (1986) the SME as independently owned and operated and not dominant in its field of operations.45 Volkmann Tokarski and Grünhagen (2010) mention i.e. influence of the personality of the entrepreneur, close contact between management and staff of the enterprise, low degree of formalization of the organization and flat hierarchies as examples of qualitative demarcation of the SME.46

The literature research derived following qualitative criteria, which should constitute a SME. Scott and Bruce (1987) developed following qualitative criteria:47

- The management is independent; often are the managers the owners of the SME
- The capital is supplied and some individual or a small group holds the ownership
- These SME´s are usually operating locally. The employees and owners often create and constitute in a common community, but their markets are not tied to the home community

Another contribution has been done by the Bolton Committee48, whose description of the key characteristics of a small firm is granted as one of the best among researchers.49 The Bolton Report also adopted different statistical definitions consciously recognizing the size of relevant sector. On these suggestions following traits of a small firm has been elaborated:50

- Has relatively small share of a competitive market
- Is unable to influence prices, so it has a low bargaining power
- The management is assumed to have a close personal involvement in all aspects of decision-making. In the case of commercial organization they are likely to be the owner or part-owners
- Is independent, while the owner/manager possesses effective control over the business or organizational activities. However they might be limited in their freedom of action by obligation to financial institutions or founders

2.3 Slovakia and CEE region

The regional block of Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC´s, CEE) comprise above all former socialist countries which are stretched in the region from the East German border, to the south of the Baltic Sea and limited by the border with Greece in the south. The literature on the definition of the CEE is again inconsistent in respect to the members and general definition of the region, where different explanations exist. The OECD serves again as the main actor in defining CEECs. According to the OECD CEECs is an OECD term for the group of countries consisting of Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and the Baltic States Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.51 Nevertheless in many author publications Slovakia has been granted as the one of the most competitive and reforming countries in the CEE region.52

Even within the regional block of CEE, there were huge differences in the time of communism. So the countries like Poland (30 % of total employment in the private sector) and Hungary (10 %) were allowed to establish private enterprises before 1989, in comparison the private sector in former Czechoslovakia accounted for less than 5 % of total employment.53 For these reasons, we cannot handle whole CEE region as equal case in respect to the freedom of trade, as this is still quite new phenomenon in Slovak Republic.

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Figure 1: Europe and CEE region54

Slovakia became, thanks to the political and economical transition, one of the best performing countries within the CEE and it could gain high regard by Multinational Enterprises (MNE´s) in the race for foreign direct investments (FDI). Thus ongoing economic reforms, privatisation and strategic partnerships with government hold strategic enterprises and the abundance of qualified and relative cheep workforce, together with the raising image attracted foreign investors to invest FDI into Slovakia.55

2.4 Entrepreneurial structure

The entrepreneurial structure of a country is given by the legal forms with very different rights and obligations according to the chosen legal form. Such a registration of a new company entails several procedural stages. These procedural issues in Slovakia can take anything between five and thirty days and a mandatory registration at the County Registry Court additional 5 days. Meaning that a maximum time to set up a firm should take at maximum 35 days.56 According to Jonathan Reuvid there are six most common legal forms established by the law offered in Slovakia, comprising the following options:57

- Joint stock company (a.s.)
- Limited liability company (s.r.o.)
- General partnership (v.o.s.)
- Limited partnership (k.s.)
- Cooperative
- Association of legal entities

As illustrated in Table 2, the most common legal form established in Slovakia within the private sector is the “Limited Liability Company” with more than 127 778 (21 %). Followed by 5 547 (0, 9 %) “Joint Stock Companies”. The group of “Sole traders - entrepreneurs”, plays a specific role, consisting of substantial amount of 410 308 (67, 5 %).58 As indicated the group of “Joint stock companies”, “Limited liability companies” and “Sole traders - entrepreneurs” play in the entrepreneurial structure of Slovakia a crucial role, this is the reason for explaining these three legal forms in more depth below.

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Table 2: Legal units by legal form and size category by employees of Dec. 31, 201059

2.4.1 Joint stock Company

The Joint Stock Company may issue and sell shares to the public. The management is managed by the Board of Directors. The governing body of the company pertains to the General Meeting and is granted to decide on all matters of legal consequences. To carry out decisions a simple majority of shareholders votes at the General Meeting is needed. The liability of shareholders is directly limited to the amount of invested capital. A Joint stock company can be established at minimum of two shareholders; or one, where the shareholder is a limited company. Basic capital of Joint stock company is at minimum EUR 25, 000, - called basic capital. A reserve fund of at least 10 % of the registered capital must be set up, and must contribute annually with additional funds based on annual profits.60

2.4.2 Limited liability Company

The most common type of new established businesses among native or foreign owned enterprises in Slovakia is the limited liability company. For an establishment of a Ltd. at minimum one shareholder is required, whilst individuals or limited companies can become partner shareholders. The maximum of shareholders in a Ltd. cannot exceed 50. An investor must accumulate a minimum capital of EUR 5, 000 and each investor must invest a minimum of EUR 750 into a new established Ltd. Another requirement for a Ltd. is a registered office address with all formal company documents kept at the registered office. The governing body, the General Meeting, can decide on all matters of legal consequence. The simple majority of shareholders votes are needed to carry out a decision of the General Meeting.61

2.4.3 Sole Trader

A sole trader can pursue several business activities, but requires a Trade License for each of them. Sole trader is personally liable, without limit, for all debts run up by his business with all of his assets (including private property). We can distinguish between general and specific conditions required for pursuing a trade. General conditions must be met all times. These encompass the age of 18 years, legal capacity and no criminal record. Specific conditions must be met depending on type of the business; professional or other qualification for trade. In the case of professional qualification we can distinguish unregulated, regulated and craft trades. If the adept intends to conduct trade, the Trade Licensing Office must be asked for issuing a Trade License. The Trade License fee is EUR 5 for unregulated and EUR 15 for regulated/crafted trades.62

2.5 Trait & behavioural approach

Another scientific contribution has been done by Schumpeter (1934), who adds the concept of innovation in the entrepreneurship theory.63 The ability to identify new opportunities due to the market created disequilibrium in the economy is the central activity of entrepreneurs. He separates two systems of economic activities into static and changing one, while the entrepreneur is described as the important agent of the mechanism for change.64 This contribution by Schumpeter is also crucial for the understanding of portfolio entrepreneurship trait approach. His five different kinds of innovation process or ways to act as an entrepreneur, deliver interesting insides into the understanding of the trait approach, as well into the analysis of portfolio entrepreneurs.65 These five kinds of innovations or ways to act as an entrepreneur by Schumpeter can be found listed below.

1. The introduction of a new good or quality of a good
2. The introduction of a new method of production
3. The opening of a new market
4. The utilization of some new sources of supply for raw materials or intermediate goods
5. The carrying out of some new organizational form of the industry

2.5.1 Traits approach

According to Philipsen (2011) the trait approach build on the presumption that the individual of entrepreneur differs in particular personality compared with a non-entrepreneur. Thus, researchers have to analyse personality characteristics which are unique for entrepreneurs and the key characteristics of such successful entrepreneurs. The trait approach consists of psychological and sociological or anthropological level.66 Another contribution in the trait approach literature states that leaders (entrepreneurs) are born and not made, meaning that, leader’s posses a set of innate psychological characteristics which are unique in comparison with non leaders.67

Some authors describe these character traits as e.g. need for achievement, locus of control and risk-taking propensity.68 Other authors indicate low aversion to risk taking, aggressiveness, ambition, over-optimism, desire for autonomy, marginality, personal values and need for power.69 Effective leaders, in accordance to Greenberg and Baron (2000) have to possess: drive, honesty, integrity, leadership motivation, self-confidence, cognitive ability, creativity and flexibility.70 However, this trait approach received a lot of criticism in the scientific literature, due to insufficient research and lack of convincing evidence and empirical studies undertaken on this theme.71 72

Nevertheless the author of this thesis decided to concentrate on the trait approach, in his opinion, the most crucial for the development and leading of successful business among the portfolio entrepreneurs. So these personality traits are expected to, “ impact the business development in its starting phase going along the development and mature phase finally culminate into the exit or entrepreneurial succession. The personality of a portfolio entrepreneur must obtain a unique combination of personality traits derived by heterogeneous levels of following characters. Starting with the need for achievement and autonomy, followed by diverse values in locus of control; influences the personality of a portfolio entrepreneur substantial. Consequently different risk-taking propensity merits and the levels of entrepreneurial self-efficacy shape the personality of an entrepreneur ultimately.73

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2: Five personality traits of entrepreneurs74

2.5.2 Behavioural approach

Alternatively the behavioural approach acknowledges that beside some certain personal characteristics, the process of doing is important as well. The leadership style plays a crucial role in this sense. A basic distinction between task-oriented and people-oriented styles can be conducted at this stage. While task-oriented entrepreneurs focus on getting the job done, the people-oriented are concerned with interpersonal relationships with their followers or subordinates, and care about being liked by them.75 In the case of behavioural approach the research is analysing the attitudes, behaviours, management skills and know-how; and the combination of these into determined entrepreneurial success.76

3 Theoretical Part

3.1 General motivations to become self-employed

There is multitude of reasons to become a self-employed entrepreneur according to the theoretical analysis. Empirical research shows that there are two main streams which shape the decision to become an entrepreneur. On the one hand, there is a push influence, where the individual is affected by either positive or negative factors influencing the personal or professional life.77 On the other hand, there is a pull influence, where the individual strives to fulfil her/his personal need for change, growth and development.78 These influences play a significant role in deciding whether to become an entrepreneur or not. However, these influences are often joined with the individual trait and behavioural approach. Thus pull and push influences will be explained in the following subchapters followed by five types of entrepreneurial traits, which shape the entrepreneurial personality. The author of this thesis suggests that these pull and push influences so as the five entrepreneurial traits are applicable on the group of portfolio entrepreneurs as well as on other entrepreneurial groups and can be due to this fact used for further analysis.

3.1.1 Pull Influences

In the case of pull influences the research has found out that these individuals are attracted towards establishing a new business due to positive motives. These can be characterized as for example a specific idea, which they are convinced, will fill a gap in the market. According to Stokes & Wilson (2010) such pull factors include the following attributes:79

- Desire for independence: in many author publications this attribute plays the key motivator. According to the Bolton Group, described above, is the need for gaining and keeping of independence one of the distinguishing features of small business ownership
- Desire to exploit an opportunity: identifying a market niche or a gap in the marketplace through personal observation or experience is often found to become a trigger to set up new business. The entrepreneurs often can exploit this opportunity by applying specialist knowledge, product development skills, or they can obtain those by hiring appropriate technology and skills
- Turning a hobby or previous work experience into a business: new business owners often occur due to their special commitment to some cherished hobby, while they seek for fulfilment in spending a substantial portion of time into this hobby. This can also occur in the part of the work that their especially enjoy Financial incentive: the goal of achieving long-term financial independence is no doubt a strong influence

3.1.2 Push influences

According to the literature review ´Push entrepreneurs´ are those, whose were previously dissatisfied with their former working position, furthermore for reasons unrelated with their own entrepreneurial traits are pushed to establish their own business.80 These entrepreneurs are pushed out of their current employment for disappointment or dissatisfaction with the work process, what can adversely affect their performance in the corporation, what pushes them to switch to self-employment.81 These reasons can encompass not doing well in their current job. Stokes and Wilson developed following attributes characterizing the push factors.82

Redundancy: according to Stokes & Wilson (2010) the feeling of redundancy has proved as an important push factor for becoming an self-employed entrepreneur, especially when other employing possibilities are low Unemployment (or threat of): the job threatening or insecurity of stable employment is very region and branch specific. This sense of threat pushes individuals to seek for different sources of income and so ensure their wellbeing and destiny Disagreement with previous employer: these include bad relations on the former workplace and different opinions in problem solving

3.1.3 Entrepreneurial Traits

The entrepreneurial trait discussions strive to answer the question how the specific combination of individual traits can support or hinder the establishment of a new business. The main issue is if the individual of entrepreneur is born with some specific skills dedicated to become a self-employed entrepreneur, or if these abilities can be learned and/or adopted. Nevertheless the influence of the founder is crucial for the business success. So the trait approach aim is to identify personality types who are more likely to succeed as entrepreneurs. According to the small business research we can distinguish among five main personality dimensions. So called Big Five personality dimensions, by (Vecchio, 2003) will be further analysed for this purpose.83 These include need for achievement, need for autonomy, locus of control, risk-taking and entrepreneurial self-efficacy.84 Need for achievement

This trait is linked on the ability to see and act on opportunities. Nevertheless, the desire to achieve a goal was significantly modified by the parental influence for the development of this personality trait. Scientific research indicates that entrepreneurs possessing high need for achievement were educated and expected, to be self-reliant at early age by their parents. However they remained supportive and not rejecting in the relationship to own offspring.85

Another contribution in this area accentuates as well the family background and experiences as significant in forming the entrepreneurial personality. So individuals with hardship in their childhood take their bad images into their adult lives; characterized by low self-esteem, insecurity and lack of confidence. Such persons are usually known as with driving ambition and hyperactivity but as well linked with non-conformist and rebellious nature. This can cause that such persons are driven to self-employment thanks to lack of acceptance in conventional employment. Such persons feel a need to escape from conventional roots, they hardly respect authorities of others, are more impulsive and often aggressive personalities. This makes them such different that these are often pushed to establish an own organization to succeed.86 So persons with high need for achievement usually dispose with following attributes:87

- Risk-taking
- Confidence of success
- Desire for independence
- Energy in pursuing goals
- Measurement of success by wealth Need for autonomy

This need is strongly joined with desire for independence and the wish to create own future and destiny. These needs have been seen as important for the successful fit of the individual with the entrepreneurial position. According to Wu (1989) it is an entrepreneurial role to take contrary decisions to the public opinion, the tendency to do decisions in particular and often different way is a strong motivation.88 Locus of control

According to the research, some successful entrepreneurs are convinced that they can control their own destiny. Those, who are described as those believing, they can control their own environment as having the so called “internal locus of control”. Contrary those who believe that their lives are dominated by chance and fate are described as with external locus of control.89 Risk-taking propensity

It is an entrepreneurial basic characteristic to take risk, as the entrepreneurs who instinctively know, that non-risk activities do not lead into gains. However, these risk-taking levels distinguish in their volume. Thus risk ignoring or risk taking aversion acting allows distinguishing among opportunistic and conservative typologies of entrepreneurs. While in the first case the risk ignoring entrepreneur is pursuing every profitable opportunity with little regard to resources available to them or fear of losing them. This propensity is often found joined with the high measures in internal locus of control, which gives them the self- confidence to handle risky and to make themselves vulnerable. In the second case, the risk averse or conservative entrepreneurs take some risk in order to establish their businesses, but these are sensitive to defend what they have achieved already, while any risk decreasing this wealth would be considered as threatening. In the sense of these entrepreneurs risk must be avoided often are these individuals identified as administrators rather than entrepreneurs.

It is important to note at this point that risk is not that same like uncertainty. Usually those marked as with high risk taking propensity innate decision-making orientation that is calculating and accepting the likelihood of loss in compensation for greater potential rewards. These entrepreneurs undertake a cognitive balancing between the promised rewards and the expected risks in terms of probabilities. The main message of this debate is the fact that what appears for one individual personality as necessary avoidable risk; represents a real opportunity for other.90


1 Cf. Nordqvist and Zellweger (2010), P. 96

2 Cf. Carter and Ram (2003) in Nordqvist and Zellweger (2010), P. 96

3 Cf. OECD (2005), P. 7

4 Cf. OECD (2005), P. 16

5 Cf. Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, http://portal.statistics.sk/showdoc.do?docid=3017 [10.06.2011]

6 Cf. Tata McGraw Hill (2010), P. 11

7 Cf. MSP Online, http://msponline.sk/ [21.06.2011]

8 Cf. NADSME, http://www.nadsme.sk/en [21.06.2011]

9 Cf. Westhead (2005), P. 109

10 Cf. Westhead (2005), P. 110

11 Cf. Westhead (2005), P. 110

12 Cf. Tihula & Huovinen (2010), P. 250

13 Cf. Woo et al. (1991) in Westhead (2005), P. 109

14 Cf. Pasanen (2003), P. 418

15 Cf. Westhead (2005), P. 111

16 Cf. Westhead (2005), P. 110

17 Cf. Westhead (2005), P. 111

18 Cf. MacMillan (1986), in Huovinen & Tihula (2006), P.4

19 Cf. Hall (1995), in Huovinen & Tihula (2006), P.4

20 Cf. Westhead (2005), P. 109

21 Cf. Westhead (2005), P. 111

22 Cf. Hall (1995) in Huovinen & Tihula (2006), P. 4

23 Cf. Westhead (1998), P. 176

24 Cf. Westhead (2005), P. 111

25 Cf. Hall (1995) in Morrish, Levy and Dong (2009), P. 2

26 Cf. Westhead et al. (2004) in Huovinen & Tihula (2006), P. 4

27 Cf. Wright et al. (1995) in Huovinen & Tihula (2006), P. 4 and Wright et al. (1997), P. 231

28 Cf. Westhead et al. (2005), P. 127

29 Cf. Westhead et al (2005), P. 122

30 Cf. Scott & Rosa (1996) in Westhead (2005), P. 110

31 Cf. Westhead (2005), P. 111

32 Cf. Iacobucci (2002) and Carter (1998) in Huovinen & Tihula (2006), P. 4

33 Cf. Jones & Dimitratos (2004), P. 92

34 Cf. Carter (1998)/Iacobucci & Rosa (2003) in Huovinen & Tihula (2006), P. 4-5

35 Cf. Westhead (2005), P. 119

36 Cf. Iacobucci (2002)/Rosa (1998) in Huovinen & Tihula (2006), P. 5

37 Cf. Definition by Branislav Zúrik (2011)

38 Cf. Nordqvist and Zellweger (2010), P. 96

39 Cf. Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic (2011)

40 Cf. OECD (2005), https://www.camaras.org/publicado/europa/pdf/8505011E.pdf [25.05.2011]

41 Cf. OECD (2005), P. 7

42 Cf. OECD (2005), P. 15

43 Cf. European Commission, http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/sme- definition/index_en.htm [24.02.2012]

44 Cf. Scott and Bruce (1987)/Gupta (1988) in Analoui and Karami (2003), P.25

45 Cf. Preston et al. (1986) in Analoui and Karami (2003), P.25

46 Cf. Volkman, Tokarski and Grünhagen (2010), P. 28

47 Cf. Scott & Bruce, R. (1987), P. 45-52.

48 Cf. Bolton (1971), in Analoui & Karami P. 26

49 Cf. Analoui & Karami (2003), P. 25

50 Cf. Analoui & Karami (2003), P. 26

51 Cf. OECD, (2011) http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=303 [21.06.2011]

52 Cf. Oomes (2004), P. 187

53 Cf. Blokker and Dallago (2008), P. 49

54 Cf. http://maps.google.sk/maps, [07.07.2011]

55 Cf. Jungmann and Sagemann (2011), P. 526

56 Cf. Lowtax, http://www.lowtax.net/lowtax/html/slovakia/slovakia_company_forms.asp [12.06.2011]

57 Cf. Reuvid (2005), P. 55-56

58 Cf. Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, http://portal.statistics.sk/showdoc.do?docid=30806[15.06.2011]

59 Cf. Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, http://portal.statistics.sk/showdoc.do?docid=30806[15.06.2011]

60 Cf. Lowtax (2011), http://www.lowtax.net/lowtax/html/slovakia/slovakia_company_forms.asp [11.07.2011]

61 Cf. Lowtax (2011), http://www.lowtax.net/lowtax/html/slovakia/slovakia_company_forms.asp [11.07.2011]

62 Cf. Migration Information Center (2011), http://mic.iom.sk/en/work/doing-business/86-zivnostenske- podnikanie-na-slovensku-podmienky.html [11.07.2011]

63 Cf. Schumpeter (1934) in Philipsen (2011), P. 4

64 Cf. Philipsen (2011), P.4

65 Cf. Schumpeter (1934), P. 66

66 Cf. Philipsen (2011), P. 8

67 Cf. Henry, Hill, Leitch (2003), P. 43

68 Cf. Ucbasaran, Westhead, Wright (2006), P. 7

69 Cf. Brockhaus (1982); Gartner (1989) ; Aldrich and Zimmer (1986) ; Carson et al. (1995); Delmar (1996)

70 Cf. Greenberg and Baron (2000) in Henry, Hill & Leitch (2003) ,P. 43

71 Cf. Burggraaf, Floren, Kunst (2008), P. 14

72 Cf. Stokes & Wilson (2010), P. 45

73 Cf. Definition by Branislav Zúrik (2011)

74 Cf. Leonardo da Vinci, Vitruvian symbol

75 Cf. Henry, Hill, Leitch (2003), P. 43-44

76 Cf. Henry, Hill, Leitch (2003), P. 58-59

77 Cf. Matlay (2005), S. 670

78 Cf. OECD (1998)

79 Cf. Stokes & Wilson (2010), P. 37

80 Cf. Congregado (2008), P. 140

81 Cf. Amit & Muller (1995), P. 66

82 Cf. Stokes & Wilson (2010), P. 38

83 Cf. Vecchio (2003) in Stokes & Wilson (2010), P. 44

84 Cf. Stokes & Wilson (2010), P. 44

85 Cf. Stokes & Wilson (2010), P. 44

86 Cf. Kets de Vries (1985) in Stokes & Wilson (2010), P. 44

87 Cf. Stokes & Wilson (2010), P. 44

88 Cf. Wu (1989) in Stokes & Wilson (2010), P. 45

89 Cf. Stokes & Wilson (2010), P. 45

90 Cf. Stokes & Wilson (2010), P. 45

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Portfolio Entrepreneurship in Slovakia - Empirical analysis of small and medium sized enterprises
University of Linz  (Institut für Unternehmensgründung & Unternehmensentwicklung )
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StartUP, Start up, Portfolio, Entrepreneurship, Portfolio entrepreneurship, Slowakei, Österreich, Slovakia, portfolio entrepreneur, Austria, Johannes Kepler Universität, Linz, Johannes Kepler University
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Magister Branislav Zurik (Author), 2012, Portfolio Entrepreneurship in Slovakia - Empirical analysis of small and medium sized enterprises, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/208686


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