FOME Future of Manufacturing in Europe

Born globals and supply chains


Small and medium-sized enterprises are widely acknowledged as the 'backbone of the European economy', providing an important contribution to GDP and employment. In spite of the fact that international activity is in general positively related to firm performance, the share of SMEs engaged in international activities is comparatively limited. Also, there is considerable heterogeneity among SMEs regarding their internationalisation intensity, modes and target markets.


This research project focuses on a subgroup of internationally active SMEs: born globals. These companies that intensively engage in international activities briefly after start-up have been found to generally outperform other young firms in economic and employment terms. Furthermore, as they tend to be involved in international business networks, their success might have knock-on effects on other businesses. As currently little is known on their specific roles in global supply chains, and the effects of these cooperations, this is the main research question of this project. Furthermore, the driving and hindering factors for born globals' activities will be investigated, as will be potential support needs.


The project is mainly based on qualitative case studies on born globals' supply chains and an analysis of illustrative support instruments for SME internationalisation, supplemented by in-house literature review. 

Overview report and case studies:  Born globals and their value chains

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