a foothold in (something)

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a foothold in (something)

An initial, stable position from which one can progress in a particular industry or area. Likened to the place where one can place their foot when climbing something. Taking a role on a soap opera has helped many aspiring actors get a foothold in the entertainment business.
See also: foothold
References in classic literature ?
I will not blame the course taken by the king, because, wishing to get a foothold in Italy, and having no friends there--seeing rather that every door was shut to him owing to the conduct of Charles--he was forced to accept those friendships which he could get, and he would have succeeded very quickly in his design if in other matters he had not made some mistakes.
And if the partition which she made with the Venetians in Lombardy was justified by the excuse that by it she got a foothold in Italy, this other partition merited blame, for it had not the excuse of that necessity.
Inevitably, though, Brazil slowly carved a foothold in proceedings and Oscar fashioned their first real chance of the match with a cross that agonizingly evaded the outstretched Neymar and Fred before him.
The launch is the latest move in a high street price war as chains fight to get a foothold in a growing tablet market that is dominated by Apple and Google.
The current striking duo of Jerome and O'Connor are definitely not the option if you want to gain a foothold in the Premier.
Because of the unique complexity and customizing requirements inherent to the field, small manufacturing would seem well suited to an open software development model that could easily gain a foothold in any number of vertical and business software markets.