PURPOSE FOR THE STUDY : The links between entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and business discontinuance are
seldom researched. This article analyses EO and business discontinuance rates in the countries of Brazil,
Russia, India, China and South Africa (SA) of which the acronym is BRICS. The study aim is to establish whether
innovative management of SMEs increase business survival rates. The BRICS formed in 2009-2010 but
research comparing their SME sectors are sparse. Theoretically, EO underscored by innovation, high exportintensity
and new technology take-up within early-stage entrepreneurship should lower business
DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH : Data for the variables studied were extracted from the Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report and the study hypothesised that innovation, high export-intensity and
new technology take-up rates are negatively correlated with business discontinuance rates. The hypotheses
were tested using correlation analysis. Kruskal-Wallis and post hoc tests find significant overall variances and
specific country-country variances.
FINDINGS : While overall total early-stage entrepreneurship (TEA) is positively correlated with business
discontinuance, the TEA variables scrutinised in the study are indeed mostly negatively correlated. These
findings indicate that more generic small businesses are not good for accelerated economic growth because
specific qualities in SMEs increase their survival and growth. Furthermore, innovation and new technology takeup
are consistently positively correlated, implying that innovation cannot do without new technology.
RECOMMENDATIONS/VALUE : EO within SME management practice must be nurtured by well-crafted
entrepreneurial policy and implementation. Support to SMEs, in particular with technology and digitalisation, is
required to boost their innovation and competitiveness. Policy support is required to boost SMEs enter global
MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS : Entrepreneurs and SME managers must increase their EO and focus on being innovative, export-driven and to employ new technology. SMEs need these inputs to grow and survive. SME management must also find ways to invest in new technology in order to increase their innovation and competitiveness.