It is not a secret anymore to say that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have become very important now days. As Dominique De Villepin (2005), the former prime minister of France, said, SMEs have now become “the spearhead of the economy”. In fact, they are seen as “important generators of jobs” (Johnson, 2007) because they represent about 50 % of employment in France, and 99 % of the French enterprises belong to this category. However, everybody is now aware that SMEs need help to develop themselves at a national scale, but also internationally. This is what has been done by many countries during the last few years, as for example, in France or in the UK, with the creation in of the Small Business Act in 2008.
Coutrary to Germany, for instance, French SMEs are afraid of extending their activities outside of the country. But, According to Karmel and Bryon (2002), internationalisation is the most ambitious strategy a company can have to develop itself. However, it is known that France has deficit because the importations are superior to the exportations (Fontagne, Gaulier, ).this is not the case in Germany for example, which Broderson(2008) describes as the world champion for exporting (exportweltmeister).
The dissertation will aim at explaining why the French SMEs might be reluctant to become international.
In order to do so, I will try to answer the following questions:
- What are the different ways for an SME to internationalise itself?
- What are the barriers to the internationalisation of SMEs?
- What can be done to improve the expansion of theses companies?
Welch and Lusotarinen (1988) define the internationalisation as the process of increasing involvement in international operations. According to Porter (1980), “firms are working hard to get internationalised”, and “almost every firm is moving to foreign markets to develop itself” and to “explore business...