International competencies for European SME graduate employees

A Dutch experience

Authored by: Louise van Weerden , Marjo Wijnen-Meijer

The Routledge Companion to European Business

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138226586
eBook ISBN: 9781315397306
Adobe ISBN:


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The globalisation of the world’s economy has made it possible for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become global players (Oviatt and McDougall 1994; Reynolds 1997). In 2016, non-financial SMEs in the EU-28 accounted for 99 per cent of all business and are considered a major source of economic growth (European Commission 2017). They represent 67 per cent of total employment and create 8 per cent of gross value added (Kalinic and Clegg 2017). Since exporting is the most common mode of SME’s internationalisation, export performance is regarded as one of the key indicators of the success of a firm’s operations. In fact, SMEs are key generators of export in many EU countries, with medium-sized enterprises (50–249 employees) accounting for the largest average export value per exporting SME (Eurostat 2014). In 2011, almost 81 per cent of EU exporting enterprises outside the EU were SMEs, with Italy, France, Spain and Germany as the leading countries accounting for over 50 per cent of total EU SME exports (Eurostat 2014).

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