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Factors Affecting the Internationalisation of Manufacturing SMEs in Zimbabwe

October 1, 2013

This policy brief presents evidence that SME internationalisation is at very low level in Zimbabwe. It identifies the major factors that are inhibitors of SME internationalisation in the manufacturing sector,  including negative attitudes by SME owner/managers, lack of international market knowledge, risk perception by owner/ managers, inadequate financial resources, poor networks and unfavourable  regulation. Furthermore, it outlines the actions the government and industry associations need to take to improve the performance of manufacturing SMEs through internationalisation. It is recommended  that government should work closely with SME associations to better understand their resource needs.

Factors Affecting the Internationalization of Manufacturing SMEs in Zimbabwe

October 1, 2013

The study investigated the factors affecting the internationalization of manufacturing SMEs in Zimbabwe. A triangulated research approach involving explanatory and descriptive designs was used to collect and analyze data from  302 manufacturing SMEs in Zimbabwe. The findings are that SME internationalization is positively influenced by availability of funds, management attitudes, and knowledge of the market, risk perception, international networks and  intensity of competition. We also observed that contrary to contemporary literature, age and size of the SME as well as technical ability of managers do not influence internationalization. We therefore argue that unless the  government and trade associations devise means to cushion the SMEs financially and expose them to the internationalization process, the number of SMEs that do business internationally will continue to dwindle.