A new report released today by international accountancy network Kreston Global has revealed that SME business leaders in India and China appear significantly more likely to expand their businesses overseas than those elsewhere. 

The report – based on a survey conducted in partnership with international market research organisation OnePoll – sought to capture views regarding opportunities and challenges for ‘interpreneurs,’ or entrepreneurs who choose to expand their businesses overseas.

72% of survey respondents in India, and 89% in China, said they had expanded their businesses abroad, in contrast to smaller proportions of SME business leaders from the United States, Germany, and Brazil. In the United Kingdom, only around a third of respondents said they had expanded overseas.

In terms of challenges and obstacles for interpreneurs, international supply chain issues were cited as the principal concern for nearly a third (32%) of respondents overall, with respondents from India and China reporting that they were most concerned about this (44% and 36%, respectively). For those who had not yet expanded internationally, the main obstacles cited were lack of capital (36%) and lack of familiarity with local tax issues (23%).

When it comes to government support for international business expansion, a substantial proportion of would-be interpreneurs (33%) said that tax breaks and financial incentives were important to them. However, existing interpreneurs were instead most likely (28%) to cite online resources as the most valuable type of government support.

The survey also tried to explore aspects of the stand-out personality traits and characteristics of interpreneurs. Two-thirds of respondents (67%) believed interpreneurs to be more extroverted than introverted, and 62% thought that in general interpreneurs focus more on the ‘bigger picture’ than on details and were more ‘imaginative’ than ‘practical’.

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However, there were notable disparities when comparing responses from different countries on personality perceptions of interpreneurs. For example, respondents in China were more likely to describe them as cautious as opposed to fearless, and deliberate as opposed to fast-acting, than respondents elsewhere.

Other insights from the report include:

  • Nearly half (45%) of respondents cited gaining access to larger markets for their goods and services as their primary reason for overseas expansion
  • Female respondents were as likely, or slightly more likely, than male (46% versus 43% overall) to have expanded abroad in almost all countries
  • Respondents aged 31-40 (55%) and 18-30 (54%) were the most likely to have expanded their business overseas, with those aged 51 or above lagging significantly (only 17%)

Liza Robbins, Chief Executive of Kreston Global, said:

Kreston Global chief executive, Liza“We are at a very important juncture for international businesses, with the global economic climate presenting a number of opportunities as well as challenges. This new report provides a unique perspective on the willingness of entrepreneurs to make the leap of expanding overseas. It also provides great insight into the minds of those interpreneurs who have already chosen to expand their enterprise. Fundamentally our report reveals a huge appetite for international entrepreneurialism, which is highly encouraging in the current global economic climate. External factors will of course continue to have a significant impact on business leaders’ decisions to move overseas, and governments around the globe would be well advised to review their current policies and ensure that they doing what is required to continue to attract fast-growth, internationally minded businesses.”

Kreston Global chair, Rich Howard, added: “It has been fascinating to see the different trends highlighted in the report, both in terms of the external landscape and in terms of what qualities make an ‘interpreneur’. It’s clear that what may make sense in one country may not follow in another country, and having local insight is key to connecting the dots. I am sure the report will prove highly insightful to both prospective and previously successful interpreneurs alike, as well as to those of us working to enable their success.”