Innovation and Entrepreneurship
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Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Successful Start-ups and Businesses in Emerging Economies

Edited by Ruta Aidis and Friederike Welter

Little is known about innovative and successful enterprises in the countries that, until 1990, were part of the Soviet Union. Most previous research has extensively covered barriers to entrepreneurship and innovation that exist in these countries, some of which undoubtedly represent a hostile and harsh environment for any entrepreneurial activity. In this book, a different perspective is introduced. The focus is shifted to the innovative potential that these environments provide, demonstrating how entrepreneurs have been able to convert possibilities in hostile business environments into successful businesses. Through this collection of six in-depth case studies, the authors illustrate how successful and innovative businesses were able to develop in countries such as Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Moldova and Ukraine. Each case study presents an overview of the country’s key economic indicators and the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the economy, followed by the presentation of a case study of a successful SME.
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Chapter 4: Overcoming Barriers: Business Consulting and Lobbying in Kazakhstan

Gül Berna Özcan


Gül Berna Özcan INTRODUCTION This chapter provides a business case study for Kazakhstan, focusing on the Independent Businessmen’s Group (IBG), a consultancy firm that took advantage of the demand for business services and day-to-day problem solving. The IBG case shows how energetic and imaginative entrepreneurship can turn business consultancy and lobbying into a successful venture by forging relational politics into a business for enterprise protection in Kazakhstan. This case study also shows that a new diversification of power structures and business consolidation is taking place with long-term consequences for the former hierarchical and vertical structures of the Soviet economy and society. Entrepreneurs widen their opportunities in relation, not in opposition to, the ruling elite in the market. The prevailing business norm is to accommodate the dominant powers that control economic resources as well as political incentives and tools. The IBG flourished on this assumption by forging political and patrimonial alliances through vertical and horizontal relations that its founder enjoyed as a close ally of the ruling elite as well as an old comrade of the president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.1 Before introducing the case study, I will discuss the main challenges facing business development in Kazakhstan and Central Asia in order to set the scene. In the first section I analyse why the delay of the emergence of lateral organizations and lack of societal trust are important impediments for the establishment of the market economy and strong civil society in Kazakhstan and post-Soviet Central Asia. The following section will examine...

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