Handbook of Research on International Entrepreneurship Strategy
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Handbook of Research on International Entrepreneurship Strategy

Improving SME Performance Globally

Edited by Pervez N. Ghauri and V. H. Manek Kirpalani

This impressive Handbook provides a dynamic perspective on the international entrepreneurial strategies of SMEs, including the role and experience of their founders, as well as the collaboration of these SMEs in networks with larger firms. The expert contributors from all over the world and the editors explore the origin and evolution of internationalizing SMEs, the changing history and the future outlook of this sector. They study the effects of different cultures on the origin and growth of entrepreneurship and SMEs. The Handbook also outlines the various types of Born Globals that emerge from different parts of the world.
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Chapter 11: Internationalization of European SMEs

Irene Mandl and Funda Celikel Esser


SMEs are about 99 per cent of all businesses in the European economy and provide about two-thirds of private sector employment. But they do not internationalize very much, except for few young born global firms. This study is on the drivers, barriers and the outcomes of SMEs’ internationalization, and the currently available public support to derive some policy pointers for improvement potentials. The ‘Europe 2020’ strategy aiming at achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth explicitly pinpoints internationalization as a priority of the European Commission. Internationalization of European SMEs generally follows a ‘waterfall strategy’, cascading from one country to the next, starting with geographically and culturally closer markets. The study discovers a negative relationship between firm size and use of public internationalization support. It recommends that internationalization should be considered as a process rather than a one-off support at the start. Also, while there is a multitude of start-up, innovation and internationalization support available across Europe, instruments combining these three elements should be more frequent.

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