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Internationalisation process: analysis of a cooperation network in the Vinho Verde sector for the US market

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Internationalisation as a strategic element in the current context of globalisation is increasingly a determinant of business success. Based on the literature in the area of internationalisation and networks, through a case study - a cooperation network involving small and medium–sized enterprises (SMEs) - this article intends to highlight the relationship between the various partnerships established both formally and informally. It also intends to show the importance of the various actors involved in the network and especially the role played by the Wine–Producing Commission of the Vinho Verde region (CVRVV) in Portugal. The results of the study show the importance of the network relationship for entry to the US market, since penetration in that specific market is determined by strategic reasons and following network relationships which already exist or are subsequently created. According to the empirical evidence, use of network contacts for development and entry to the US market is also found to be fundamental, these relationships initially being intermediated by the non–profit–making sector entity of the CVRVV. Some theoretical and practical implications are also presented.

Keywords: cooperation, cooperative networks, USA, wine sector, internationalisation, formal partnerships, informal partnerships, United States, globalisation, Vinho Verde region, wine industry, business success, networking, case studies, SMEs, small and medium–sized enterprises, firm performance, Portugal, market penetration, marketing strategies, network relationships, network contacts, market development, market entry, not–for–profit, non–profit

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