University of Oulu

The use and perceived impact of external support services in SME internationalization process

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Author: Vasala, Aappo1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, International Business
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Vasala, 2015
Publish Date: 2015-06-15
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia
Reviewer: Ahokangas, Petri
Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia
SMEs do not always possess the resources needed for internationalization. This lack of resources, both tacit and tangible along with international competition has brought forth a number of internationalization support services available for SMEs. These support activities are mainly focused on exporting as an entry mode and their purpose is to facilitate growth in SMEs that benefits both the company and country they reside in. The purpose of this master’s thesis is to determine the impact and use of internationalization support in SME internationalization process. By analyzing the needs of the companies and the criteria and form of support external support services provide, we are able to see the problems in allocating internationalization support for companies and whether internationalization support has the wanted impact on SME internationalization. In addition the organizational development of internationalization services is looked upon and theorized if there is room for improvement regarding the allocation of support for SMEs. The study was conducted as a qualitative case analysis of two Finnish companies and two internationalization support service providers. The interviews were decoded into themes that included SME internationalization process, the use and impact of internationalization support and internationalization support organizations. Theoretical approach is applied to the analysis. The results of the study revealed firstly, that external support is offered too late in the SME internationalization process and firms would like to utilize external support earlier in their internationalization. Secondly, the internationalization support providers lack the tools to help companies that are fast in their internationalization process and operate at a loss for the first years of their development. Thirdly, optimal form of support is discussed. These findings are helpful in planning internationalization support programs for start-ups and internationalizing SMEs in Finland.
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