Swiss International Entrepreneurship Survey – SIES 2013

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  • March 23, 2015
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Swiss International Entrepreneurship Survey – SIES 2013

The School of Management Fribourg has presented the results of its 2013 study, the third of its kind, on Swiss SMEs’ internationalization efforts and in doing so has uncovered some new trends. For the purposes of data collection for the PostFinance-sponsored study, a multilingual questionnaire (German, French, Italian and English) was sent out to the management of SMEs that focus on exports. The results of this study, which was based on the Bisnode D&B company databank, have revealed the principal factors affecting the success or failure of a company`s internationalization strategy.

Reasons for a study of SMEs
In the World Economic Forum`s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, Switzerland topped the list of the most competitive countries. The decisive factor behind this excellent result is the strong performance of Swiss companies in key areas, such as efficiency, the job market, technology, innovation and corporate culture. At this point, it is important to highlight the fact that 99.6% of Swiss companies are designated as SMEs. Hence, these companies have a major influence on Switzerland`s international success.

The key to success: international experience
The study focuses on the head of the company and his global vision. The findings show that at each stage of a company`s life cycle, different characteristics are required from the management team. The key to successful internationalization unquestionably lies with the head of the company and top management. The study confirms that in order to be able to operate internationally, it is vitally important to have a management team with the necessary expertise. Hence, international experience should not be underestimated; it not only affects the speed of internationalization, but also its success.

Recommendations and advice
Given these results, companies and the management of SMEs are advised to invest less in tangible assets and more in areas that directly generate competitive advantages. These areas include research and development and employee creativity. The cases presented in the study also highlight the various forms of internationalization of SMEs and show management that internationalization is not necessarily the result of exporting products and services, but can also be attained by means of a specific position in the international value chain.

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