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Martin Hannibal and Tage Koed Madsen

The literatures on entrepreneurship and international business used to be separate fields and their respective researchers had little, if any, contact (Dana et al., 1999a). Together with the increasing globalization of markets and societies, however, a joint field on international entrepreneurship started to grow during the 1990s (Dana et al., 1999b). Researchers looking at the internationalization of firms used to find that firms would typically grow internationally in a slow and incremental manner, mainly by exporting their products to neighbouring countries (Johanson and Vahlne, 1977), but they now find that an increasing number of new firms initiate international activities (at first often through exporting) very early on after inception. Similarly, entrepreneurship researchers found that an increasing number of entrepreneurs have an international outlook. Dating back to seminal articles by Oviatt and McDougall (1994), Knight and Cavusgil (1996) and Madsen and Servais (1997), scholars have tried to understand the phenomenon of these international new ventures/born globals (INVs/BGs). Many scholars have examined whether these firms have specific founder characteristics, for example, whether they have a global mindset through education or experience working in foreign cultures. For instance, Acedo and Jones (2007) linked the notion of human capital to the ability of founders to identify opportunities in foreign markets, and thereby improve the performance of INVs, while Sharma and Blomstermo (2003) demonstrate how acquiring access to embedded network resources may enhance INV value creation on foreign markets. Another stream of literature looks at how founders may be able to leverage the knowledge and resources from contacts in prior work settings to speed up internationalization (for example, Young et al., 2003). Other scholars have placed emphasis on changing market conditions and industry structure which are conducive to spurring internationalization. These areas of focus are demonstrated in an early review by Rialp et al. (2005) as well as in later reviews by Keupp and Gassmann (2009) and Cesinger et al. (2012).

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Erik S. Rasmussen, Martin Hannibal, René Lydiksen and Per Servais