Entrepreneurship & Regional Development—Internationalisation as an Entrepreneurial Process

When:  Sep 30, 2024 from 09:00 to 23:59 (BST)
Associated with  Entrepreneurship (ENT)

Entrepreneurship & Regional Development

For a Special Issue on

Internationalisation as an Entrepreneurial Process: Boundary Spanning for Regional Growth Across Diverse Contexts

Special Issue Editor(s)

Vahid Jafari-Sadeghi, Aston Business School, United Kingdom

Pawan Budhwar, Aston Business School, United Kingdom

Julia Korosteleva, University College London, United Kingdom

Tomasz Mickiewicz, Aston Business School, United Kingdom

Niina Nummela, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland

Antonella Zucchella, University of Pavia, Italy ; antonella.zucchella@unipv.it, Allan Discua Cruz, Lancaster University, United Kingdom; a.discuacruz@lancaster.ac.uk

In today's interconnected global landscape, international entrepreneurship (IE) is a significant driver for regional development and economic growth. Entrepreneurs are quick to seize opportunities beyond borders, spurring not only employment and innovation but also overall prosperity (Jafari-Sadeghi et al., 2023; Zahra, 2021). IE involves strategically allocating limited resources across international markets (Dana et al., 2009; Sadeghi et al., 2019), encompassing the entrepreneurial journey of identifying, assessing, and leveraging cross-border opportunities for the supply of new and extant goods and services (Oviatt & McDougall, 2005). Recent global disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russo-Ukrainian War have underscored the need for resilient supply chains and adaptable business models. With their global networks and diversified operations, some international entrepreneurial firms demonstrated their capacity to withstand shocks and sustain operations amidst disruptions. Their entrepreneurial agility allowed them to swiftly adapt strategies, pivot business models, and uncover novel prospects during crises. In contrast, enterprises solely focused on domestic markets faced more severe setbacks. This illustrates how the internationalisation of entrepreneurial ventures fosters inter-regional links and resilience, ultimately enhancing regional stability in the face of challenges. That is, although entrepreneurial companies operate internationally, the impact of their operations is greatest locally/regionally. While extensive research has spotlighted rapidly internationalising startups and born global (BGs) and international new ventures (INVs), other entrepreneurial entities such as family firms, led by entrepreneurial families, and cooperatives composed of family and non-family firms also drive regional growth through their international pursuits (Fletcher, 2004; Zucchella, 2021). Family firms, with their legacy and values (Leppäaho and Jack 2021), and cooperatives with their community-oriented approach (Hadjielias, Discua Cruz, and Howorth 2023), bring unique dimensions to the landscape of international entrepreneurship. Such dimensions could be influenced by contextual aspects that merit the use of diverse perspectives (Johannisson et al. 2007). They could adopt strategies to prioritise sustainable growth, social impact, and equitable benefit distribution alongside economic goals (Baù at al., 2021). Hence, the internationalisation journey embarked upon by these diverse entrepreneurial endeavours can be conceived as a multi-dimensional process, impacting regional development in both home and host countries (Fletcher, 2004; Boso et al., 2017; Kraus et al., 2021). Entrepreneurs across various forms identify international prospects through activities like global scanning and recognising cross-border gaps (Autio, 2017). Networking and relationship-building then facilitate access to crucial resources and insights needed for international expansion (Fernhaber & Li, 2013; Lin et al., 2020; Tolstoy, 2010). Networking, which allows access to new markets and partners, is particularly relevant for entrepreneurial entities like BGs and INVs, cooperatives and family firms (Elo et. al., 2019; Baù at al., 2021). In this vein, successful international entrepreneurship involves continuous adaptation, and learning to navigate diverse cultures, legal systems, institutions, and market dynamics. It requires developing cross-cultural competencies and tailoring products, services, and business models to diverse preferences. This process not only strengthens networks and knowledge flow but also contributes to economic integration and development across regions. As these entrepreneurial entities expand internationally, they create interwoven connections, fostering collaboration, innovation, and shared growth. In the tapestry of diverse forms of entrepreneurship, internationalisation emerges as a powerful driver of regional prosperity, underscoring the importance of embracing and supporting varied entrepreneurial endeavours.

The recent advancements in digital technology and the evolution of digital platforms have significantly shaped the landscape of new venture development. These developments have far-reaching implications for both regional development and the broader international ecosystems in which these firms operate (Autio et al., 2018; Belitski et al., 2021; Bruno et al., 2023). Within the tapestry of entrepreneurial entities, the influence of digital transformation takes on varying forms, each tailored to the distinct characteristics of entrepreneurial firms. As they engage in generative experimentation and business idea reconfiguration, these firms, irrespective of their organisational form, are propelled by the potential to test alternative products and services through constant interactions with customers, suppliers, and partners in various markets. This intricate interplay between digital technology and diverse regional contexts leads to the emergence of innovative international business models, each uniquely suited to the challenges and dynamics of the respective regions (Autio, 2017). The business model innovations do not occur in isolation but are deeply intertwined with the regional landscape. The strategies employed by entrepreneurial firms reflect an understanding of the diverse customer preferences, competitive forces, and disruptive market dynamics present in different geographical areas. Notably, platform-based models capitalise on digital ecosystems to transcend traditional barriers to internationalisation. By reducing transaction costs, enhancing market visibility, and fostering value co-creation opportunities, these models enable entrepreneurial firms to navigate the complex interplay of regional factors, ultimately influencing their international success (Nambisan et al., 2019). Similarly, born-digital firms—including BGs, INVs, family firms, and cooperatives—harness the digital advantage to swiftly respond to the intricate web of market dynamics, customer demands, and regional influences. This responsiveness is a testament to the adaptive capabilities of these firms in both national and international contexts, as they cater to the nuanced needs of diverse regions. Accordingly, the exploration of the entrepreneurial journey towards internationalisation delves into the intricate interconnections between diverse entrepreneurial entities, digital transformation, and regional dynamics. This interplay not only shapes the strategies and success of individual firms but also contributes to the broader discourse on regional development and economic growth. The activity of entrepreneurial firms in crafting innovative business models that are attuned to the diverse challenges and opportunities across regions represents the complex and multifaceted nature of international entrepreneurship. This, in turn, underscores the importance of fostering a nuanced understanding of regional influences within the broader narrative of international ecosystems and entrepreneurial endeavours.

We invite researchers to contribute empirical, theoretical, and conceptual papers that advance knowledge and understanding of international entrepreneurship within the context of today's interconnected global landscape. Additionally, we encourage the exploration of initiatives employed by entrepreneurial firms to adopt through innovation, technology, and new business models for successful internationalisation, and of their subsequent regional implications.

Topics of interest for this special issue include, but are not limited to:

  • Business model innovation in international entrepreneurship: strategies, processes, and outcomes.
  • Local development implications of SMEs’ international entrepreneurship.
  • The role of digital platforms in enabling early internationalisation for entrepreneurial firms and their impact on regional development.
  • Comparative analysis of different new internationalisation business models and their effectiveness in facilitating realisation of entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • The role of family firms and entrepreneurial families in the internationalisation process.
  • Regional clusters and their influence on the internationalisation process of entrepreneurial firms.
  • The role of ecosystem dynamics in shaping the adoption and diffusion of new internationalisation business models.
  • Challenges and opportunities for born-digital firms in international markets.
  • The impact of collaborative business models on the internationalisation outcomes of entrepreneurial firms.
  • Exploring the role of disruptive technologies in shaping new internationalisation business models for entrepreneurial firms.
  • The influence of institutional factors on the adoption and adaptation of new internationalisation business models.
  • The role of international networks and alliances in supporting the implementation and growth of new internationalisation business models.
  • The impact of cultural factors on the adoption and adaptation of new internationalisation business models in different international markets.
  • The relationship between new internationalisation business models and firm performance in terms of revenue growth, profitability, and market share.
  • The influence of resource constraints on the choice and implementation of new internationalisation business models for entrepreneurial firms.
  • The role of government policies and support programs in fostering the adoption and success of new internationalisation business models.
  • The influence of environmental sustainability considerations on the design and implementation of new internationalisation business models for entrepreneurial firms.
  • The impact of recent global shocks (e.g., the Covid-19 pandemic; Russia's war in Ukraine) on the trend of internationalisation of entrepreneurial firms and the extent to which digitalization helps overcome some of the challenges.

    Submission Instructions

    Meet the Guest Editors Paper Development Workshop (PDW):

    The guest editors will organise special PDWs to develop the ideas and papers intended for submission. The workshop will be held during the 50th Academy of International Business- UK and Ireland Chapter conference on 4th - 6th April 2024 at Aston Business School, Birmingham, United Kingdom. All interested contributors will have an opportunity to present their work (at any stage of development) for discussion and feedback. Participation in the PDW is not a guarantee of acceptance of the paper for the special issue nor a requirement for consideration of papers for inclusion in the special issue. For more information about the workshop, please contact the Vahid Jafari-Sadeghi (v.jafari-sadeghi@aston.ac.uk).

    Working Timeline:

    • Papers for the AIB-UK 2024 conference and PDW workshop for SI: 15th November 2023
    • Confirmation of acceptance to the PDW workshop: 15th of January 2024
    • PDW SI Workshop in Aston Business School (AIB-UKI 2024 conference), Birmingham, UK: 4th-6th April 2024
    • Submission deadline: 30th September 2024
    • Publication: Late 2025