The Changing Global Economy and its Impact on International Entrepreneurship
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The Changing Global Economy and its Impact on International Entrepreneurship

Edited by Hamid Etemad, Stefano Denicolai, Birgit Hagen and Antonella Zuchella

The Changing Global Economy and its Impact on International Entrepreneurship addresses different changes and challenges which small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) face in an economy where they need to compete at home and cannot refrain from participating in international markets. This volume presents a collection of 12 carefully selected chapters that highlight challenging real-world cases to illustrate a variety of difficult problems. The book presents an analytical framework with three levels of analysis – entrepreneurial level, firm level, and institutional level – to document comprehensive, realistic and experientially-based entrepreneurial initiatives, potent firm and public policy strategies with solid results.
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Chapter 7: Formal inter-firm cooperation and international expansion: how Italian SMEs are using the network contract

Selena Aureli and Mara Del Baldo


This chapter analyzes a new legislative instrument called the “network contract,” which was designed to support inter-firm cooperation, in order to verify whether this type of formal cooperation represents a relevant driver of change in small firms’ strategic orientation regarding internationalization. Results indicate that internationalization does not represent the main goal of firms participating in network contracts: Italian SMEs use this instrument to achieve different strategies of growth and long-term objectives. We found that some firms have increased their business activity abroad after joining the network. However, firms with a previous history of internationalization did not seem to have changed their approach regarding the international dimension. Consequently, the network contract is not qualified to be the most suitable tool for promoting internationalization among domestic firms, although internationalization may emerge as a by-product of inter-firm relationships.

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