The Japanese economy contracted in the 1990s, leading to unprecedented layoffs at big companies, and high levels of business bankruptcies in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector. Previously, it was assumed (at least by outsiders) that entrepreneurial businesses were the beneficiaries of big business (the keiretsu group) who controlled vertically integrated production arrangements within which SMEs prospered through supposedly trust-based subcontractor relations (Dore, 1986). By the end of the 1990s, the first of Japan’s “lost decades” of economic malaise and stagnant growth, the historically big business-oriented national government policies and business practices (e.g. vertically integrated production) would be revealed as ill-suited to stimulate high growth entrepreneurship (Ibata-Arens, 2005).