DO THEY SEE WHAT WE SEE?: A CRITICAL NORDIC TALE ABOUT PERCEPTIONS OF ENTREPRENEURIAL OPPORTUNITIES, GOALS AND GROWTH
This paper serves as an overview of a decade of the authors' theoretical reviews, participant observations, empirical studies, quasi-experimental research, qualitative interviews, personal consulting, firm incubation, and action research with firms, clusters, and regional groups in both the information technology and biotechnology sectors in Finland. Interpretations of our findings are told using a narrative format, based on Nordic mythology. This story-telling approach is used to express the perceptions of entrepreneurship by various players in society. It discusses what happens when public policies are based on perceptions very different from, and in potential conflict, with those of the would-be entrepreneur. The paper addresses the current and very real problem in many Nordic countries where enormous efforts are invested in pushing technology creation assuming at the simultaneous creation of entrepreneurial high growth firms. Results show extremely low entrepreneurial activity and declining interest towards entrepreneurship as a career alternative. For those firms that do emerge growth does not seem to be the primary goal. The conclusions are discussed in terms of the long term prognosis for developing an entrepreneurial society in economically advanced nations to take advantage of the technological developments supported by governmental research funding.
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