Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have created a special space within all national economies. Their very nature of autonomy and high level of professionalism has aided them to be very innovative. Their founder managers, few equipped with professional experience(s) and few exposed to family owned (professional) business have shaped a niche in themselves. The objective of this study was to explore the innovative enterprise and its characteristics along with the nature of innovation. Enterprises that exhibited some kind of innovation or were engaged in deploying innovative practices were identified from 200 published cases and were classified under three different categories. The identified innovative enterprises have been classified as chimp type (start-ups=5 and=15 years) innovative enterprise (metaphor used for these animal representative of the description used). Their typical characteristics as an innovative enterprise possessed, competing for existence (survival) and business (hunting), similar to a chimp, hyena and a lion for its survival, have been compared as a result of transition. The researcher attempts to relay better understanding on the transition process and what constitutes a winning enterprise.
Keywords: entrepreneurship, transition management, innovation management, small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs