Inderscience Publishers

Determinants of the internationalisation of European SMEs: inward outward linkages, the 'stage' theory of global expansion and the role of the European Union in the textiles and apparel industry

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This paper examines the patterns of evolution associated with the internationalisation of SMEs within Western Europe vis-a-vis the transition economies of Eastern Europe. In doing so, it analyses the degree to which the 'stage' theory of internationalisation applies to SME internationalisation and why certain industries within certain countries get 'stuck' in the early ('primitive') stages of internationalisation and thus in a low-value creation mode of international activity. It looks at the linkages that exist between 'inward' and 'outward' trade flows and considers the role of the EU in both nurturing and also hindering the SME internationalisation process.

Keywords: European Union, internationalisation, international trade, joint ventures, small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, stage theory, transition economies, value creation, textiles industry, apparel industry, clothing industry, garment industry, entrepreneurship

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