The international entrepreneur – what drives business leaders to expand overseas?

Published by Andrew Griggs on 28 November 2022

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Much has been written about the mindset of the entrepreneur – what drives people to set up and ambitiously grow their businesses, what makes them tick, what typical attributes they share. Often characteristics like boldness, creativity and tenacity are seen as being at its heart. But what makes them want to expand internationally? What inspires them to take that entrepreneurial mindset and apply to it a global vision, seeking new horizons and new markets abroad?

To find out, Kreston Global decided to undertake a survey of 600 business leaders in Europe, Asia and the Americas, to better understand the attitudes and outlook of potential and actual ‘interpreneurs’. An ‘interpreneur’ is a term they have coined to describe a business leader who successfully expands their business’ presence into markets abroad. The aim was to shine a light on their goals and what it might take to achieve them, and to identify the barriers that may be holding them back.

From entrepreneur to ‘interpreneur’

In conducting this research, Kreston Global wanted to start a conversation around what ‘interpreneurship’ means, what it can look like in practice, and therefore what it might take to turn global vision into successful operations in new regions on the ground.

Key findings from the report: 

  • Business leaders in China and India are by far the most ‘interpreneurial’. 
  • Accessing larger markets is the principal driver – but it’s not all that matters.  
  • Supply chain issues are both an opportunity and a threat. 
  • Gender is no barrier to ‘interpreneurship’, but age is a factor. ‘Interpreneurs’ tend to be younger – more than half of respondents in the 18-30 and 31-40 age brackets have done so, against one in six (17%) of the 51+ cohort. 
  • The ‘interpreneurial’ mindset is a complex mix of traits. They are extrovert, big-picture focussed, more imaginative than practical but are also on the cautious end of the spectrum, inclined towards deliberate decision-making, and as tactical as they are visionary. 
  • Looking ahead, Western Europe and the USA are key target markets for overseas expansion.  
  • Limited capital and lack of familiarity with local issues is holding ‘interpreneurs’ back.  
  • ‘Interpreneurs’ expect ‘interpreneurial’ characteristics from their advisers. They look for good local business connections (48%) and the ability to grasp their vision and strategy (46%), plus they want them to have a credible visible international brand and footprint (40%) and specific sector and market knowledge (38%).

Liza Robbins, Chief Executive Kreston Global, comments, “What is clear from our findings is that there are as many differences as commonalities among what we are loosely terming the ‘interpreneurial community’ across the globe. But that, in itself, is interesting and informative”.

Andrew Griggs, Senior Partner at Kreston Reeves and Kreston Global Board member, comments, “Growing a business through international trade has never been easy. There are many hurdles and barriers to cross and in recent years that has become much harder.  

“However, businesses remain ambitious in their growth plans and during times of change and challenge often find opportunity. Business leaders with an entrepreneurial mindset are always looking and planning ahead. That spirit combined with trusted advice, will enable them to review the opportunities and options available to make the right decisions for them.” 

To download Kreston Global’s full report, please complete the form below.

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    If you are considering expanding overseas, there is support and advice available to help you work round or jump over barriers, get in touch with a member of our Global team

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