Innovation clearly is critical to entrepreneurs’ ability to grow and create jobs. Many of these entrepreneurs see opportunities to bring innovation to customers outside of their home markets and these individuals expect their firms to grow even faster and create more jobs than those whose sights are set primarily on their local market.

Yet firms, especially small ones, face considerable barriers to expanding abroad—barriers that bridgemakers can help entrepreneurs overcome. International expansion is on the minds of most entrepreneurs Overall, six in 10 entrepreneurs surveyed indicated international expansion is a key priority for their business (Figure 4). One might expect larger firms to be likely to hold that view and that is indeed what Accenture found in its survey: more than 75 percent of larger firms (those with 100 to 250 employees) considered international expansion important to growing their business and creating jobs. What was remarkable was that a similar percentage (76 percent) of smaller firms (with 10 to 99 employees) had the same aspirations.

While smaller firms certainly face more challenges in expanding outside their home markets than their larger counterparts do, it is worth noting that smaller firms are thinking seriously about targeting overseas markets. One of the reasons so many entrepreneurial firms of all sizes are looking outside their home markets is better revenue growth opportunities: firms that considered international expansion a priority expect faster revenue growth than their locally focused peers. Accenture’s survey showed that of the entrepreneurs who expected hyper revenue growth in 2014 (that is, greater than 15 percent), a vast majority (73 percent) also considered international expansion as either critical or important to growing their business.

On the contrary, the majority of firms (66 percent) that expected revenues in 2014 to decrease or remain stable considered international expansion as not very important or not important at all.

Interestingly, the tenure of the firm—how long it had been in business before deciding to expand outside its home markets—is not directly correlated to a desire for global expansion. In fact, surprisingly, a very high proportion (70 percent) of younger firms—those launched in the past 12 months—are already thinking of international expansion. These are the “born global” entrepreneurs. Conversely, a smaller percentage (only 49 percent) of firms that are more than 10 years old considered international expansion as important to growing their business (Figure 5)

These results indicate that the new generation of entrepreneurs thinks much more globally than their predecessors. This is especially true for entrepreneurs in the sharing economy, where achieving critical mass and being the first entrant is a primary criteria of success and viability (as is the case in similar “winner take all” markets, where the value of the network is a predominant value creation factor). Internationalization increases the size of their addressable market, reduces revenue source risks and increases the value of their firms.20

Accenture’s survey also revealed that going global can have a huge impact on a firm’s job-creation potential. Firms with international activity were more likely to expect to create jobs than firms that were primarily locally focused. Importantly, international expansion does not mean jobs will be created only in overseas markets. On the contrary, more of these new jobs would be created at home: more than 80 percent of these firms expected to increase the workforce in their home country at a faster

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