Abstract

While researchers have identified several factors internal and external to new ventures that can explain why some ventures internationalize early while others do not, the entrepreneurs’ experience plays a central role in understanding the new venture internationalization process. Specifically, early internationalization has been repeatedly found to be associated with international experience of entrepreneurs (McDougall, Oviatt & Shrader 2003; Reuber & Fischer, 1997). Yet, individuals collect multiple different experiences over time which potentially influence venture internationalization. By drawing on the theory of expertise (Chi, 2006; Dane, 2010; Glaser, 1984), it is proposed that different kinds of experience (international and founding experience) influence venture internationalization differently. Specifically, we propose that international experience accelerates internationalization (because it provides knowledge about international markets), whereas founding experience delays venture internationalization (because knowledge will be specific to the national context and less applicable to the international context). Further, we argue that age at first international entry, founding experience, and international experience independently and conjointly influence venture internationalization degree.

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