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Abstract

International New Ventures (INVs) are defined as "business organisations that, from inception, seek to derive significant competitive advantage from the use of resources and the sale of outputs in multiple countries" (McDougall et al., 1994: 470). Globalisation, the dismantling of trade barriers, and the pervasive impact of new technologies have created unprecedented opportunities for young firms to go international early in their life cycle. This is also evidenced by the large number of long established firms that have recently internationalised. In light of these global trends, size of the firm is no longer a key determinant of internationalisation as it once was - the INVs are clear evidence of this. This paper presents a critical review of the empirical findings popular in the current !NV literature, with the objective of developing a profile of INVs which includes the basic characteristics, such as the competitive strategies, products and choice of market entry modes. There are certainly enough similarities in the empirical studies to generate a more comprehensive profile of the !NV than exists in the literature already. A review of theoretical contributions on the !NV is equally of interest but is outside the scope of this paper. The first section of the paper describes the emergence of the !NV firm, which has challenged traditional theories of internationalization. The second section identifies some of the key driving forces behind the firms. Then, drawing on empirical findings, a profile of the !NV is drawn up. Finally, noting the consensus in the literature, a conclusion is reached. This is followed by observations from the author and the recognition of research avenues, which may warrant further investigation.

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