Katriin Tsepurin

Title: ‘Internationalization of Born Global ICT Startups from Small States – the Case of Estonia

Supervisor: Dr. Tarmo Kalvet, Senior Research Fellow

Opponent: Brandon James Unti, ABD (University of Missouri, Kansas City)

Defense: 12 September 2012


Abstract: The research aim of this paper is to understand whether the economic context of small states affects the internationalization of born global ICT startups. Different studies indicate that due to the limited possibilities of the home market, born globals in these nations are prone to a rapid process of internationalization and with large scale in order to finance the research and development (R&D) costs. This finding is somewhat paradoxical as the knowledge on small states indicates several additional constraints, from macro and meso levels, that may hinder the rapid internationalization process — lack of financial resources (state support measures and venture capital), specialists (engineers, marketing professionals), networking possibilities (lack of professional business networks, contacts on international level), which is interconnected with the lack of VCs. Hence, startups in small states are facing strong “push” forces due to the constraints in the local environment while at the same time, these constraints may also hinder the very same rapid internationalization process.

Keywords: ICT, Startups, Small States, Born Globals, Internationalization.