Edited by Hamid Etemad
Chapter 5: Impact of entrepreneurs on the process of internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises in Iran
The growing role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their considerable contribution to employment and economic dynamism in most industrialized countries suggest that this institution can also contribute to sustainable development in developing countries. Meanwhile, due to increasing competitive pressure and reduction of the direct subsidies and protection that they previously received from their governments, it is necessary for SMEs in developing countries to internationalize (Etemad 1999) to gain scale economies and added competitiveness. In spite of the proven role of SMEs in economic development and the growing share of developing countries in world trade, research on internationalization of SMEs based in developing countries is still in the embryonic stages (Kuada and Sörensen 2000). Similarly, the key role of entrepreneurs as owner-managers in realizing international market opportunities and internationalizing SMEs (Westhead et al. 2001; Miesenbock 1988) in developing countries also needs further clarification. Consistent with other economies, the Third Socio-Economic Development Plan of Iran (2000–01 through 2004–05) states that a sustainable small and medium-sized enterprise sector is necessary for economic development and restructuring of the institutional business framework (Tabibian 2003).
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