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  1. Foreign trade, or more broadly, international business, was until recently perceived as the domain of large corporations, which have dominated the world market. Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, was associated with business activities in local markets only. However, at the turn of the 20th and 21th centuries, an unprecedented boom of entrepreneurship on the international scale can be observed. This section will discuss the reasons of the change and the main symptoms of international activities of smaller firms.

  2. The most notable thing to mention is that the conditions of international business activities have changed considerably, as the barriersencountered primarily by smaller firms have been either eliminated or greatly reduced:
    • Thanks to modern technologies and the use of the Internet, exchange of information on an international scale is much more swift.
    • Lower costs of transport and travel have obviously reduced the costs of international operations.
    • New category of entrepreneurs have joined dynamic, ambitious segment of the small business, namely people with  higher education and good command of foreign languages to the process.
    • In addition, all firms, including the smaller ones, have undoubtedly benefitted from the gradual decrease of custom duties and other barriers in the global trade, as well as the progressing economicintegration. The experience of Poland and many other countries which becamefull members of the EU in 2004, are the best examples.

  3. Until recently, the interest in the international arena among smaller firms was relatively low. Due to the limited experience and resources, both financial and human, even if firms did decide to get involved in foreign operations, they do so in a gradual way, starting with the markets closest to them geographically and culturally. It was only after 1990 that new phenomena and tendencies occurred. Small, dynamic firms, began to storm world markets in just their first years of operation and took advantage of the opportunities regarding international expansion, using it as a driving force for faster growth.

  4. What factors contribute to the tendency to pursue international activities observed among smaller firms? The most important ones include:
    • the international orientation of the leading team members, which may result from their educational backgrounds, knowledge of foreign languages as well as earlier professional experience;
    • the ability to absorb information, or more broadly, to learn how to function in international markets;
    • the ability to network, establish cooperative links, strategic alliancesetc., which can help gain access to resources that the companies themselves do not have.

  5. The phenomenon of international entrepreneurship is relatively new. Its  most important characteristic is the scale and pace of the changes in the business environment and their influence on entrepreneurial activities. Until recently, international activities of small companies were viewed mostly in terms of the related threats and barriers. Thanks to the radical improvement  in the international flow of information and communication andprogress in economic integration, global operations have become an authentic opportunity for smaller companies promoting their fast growth.

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