Objective: The article discusses motives driving the internationalisation of small born global firms and explores the role strategic partnerships play in the process. It argues that born globals are forced into international markets soon after their foundation due to limited domestic market capacity. Furthermore, they attempt to prevent competition on international markets and secure first mover advantages.
Research Design & Methods: Based on primary data gathered in the course of interviews with founders and senior managers of British born globals operating in different industry sectors, the article offers new insights into the role of partnerships during early stages of internationalisation.
Findings: The article reveals that beside serendipitous opportunities, the motivation and opportunity recognition of the founder/manager play a vital role in firms’ early internationalisation. Strategic partnerships appear to help born globals in overcoming resource constraints and their liability of newness and smallness. Also other factors, such as increasing brand recognition and the enhancement of the firm’s credibility motivate born globals to engage in strategic partnerships from an early stage.
Implications & Recommendations: The research results lead to a conclusion that strategic partnerships are suitable only for a particular period of time, which begins shortly after the firm’s inception and ends when the born global firm becomes more established.
Contribution & Value Added: The article provides novel understanding of the role of strategic partnerships play in the early internationalisation of born globals. Furthermore, it adds new insights into the evolution of such partnerships.