International entrepreneurship takes a lot of courage. Each ‘foreign’ country has its own laws and regulations, customs and etiquette, corporate culture, knowledge and market conditions.
Entrepreneurs, businesses and governments need an institution that can help them view institutional and cultural differences as challenges and opportunities rather than obstacles. This is especially true in a global economy where economic power is shifting towards Asia and where, moreover, African nations are gradually starting to play a significant role.
Our research focuses on companies and organizations learning how to do business in environments that differ from what they’re used to in their home country. The following two research topics are key in this:
1. Internationalization of the regional economy and business community through public-private collaboration
Research aimed at shedding light on how public actors (governments) can collaborate with private actors (companies) to boost economic internationalization (e.g. through commercial and economic diplomacy). Here we focus on opportunities to stimulate growth, create jobs and differentiate Dutch international economic activity more sustainably in relation to non-EU nations. Such opportunities that are not yet utilized to the full. For instance, being an open economy, the Netherlands relies heavily on international trade. Nevertheless, only 18% of the Dutch business community is active abroad and our international trade focuses strongly on our largest trade partner: Germany. This is remarkable, since the international balance of economic power is shifting towards Asia. Border areas have particular scope for increasing their international trade volume, since the value of their international trading activities is as yet relatively modest. That is therefore where the greatest opportunities lie.
2. International corporate diplomacy
Our research aims to provide companies with pointers as to how to develop international corporate diplomacy skills. International corporate diplomacy involves starting and building relations and dealing with key figures and organizations abroad so as to acquire the desired (legal) status as a company and do business successfully in foreign markets. Relevant skills include:
• Starting, building and maintaining relations with governments and interest groups
• Dealing with current laws and regulations, legal system and corporate culture.
Such skills are vital in doing business successfully in the nations of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, China and Russia.
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