International Entrepreneurship

The International Entrepreneurship Research Group performs scientifically excellent research at the intersection of Entrepreneurship and International Business research. We are a group of Entrepreneurship and IB researchers that interacts closely with entrepreneurs and facilitators on areas such as international new ventures, the international new venture creation process, and configurations for internationalization.

The International Entrepreneurship Research Group at NIKOS is a collaboration of researchers from the Netherland Institute for Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship (NIKOS) as well as other departments at the school of Management & Governance (MB) of the University of Twente. The research is embedded in the Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies (IGS). The research group also collaborates with Prof. Dr. Shaker Zahra (3TU, U. Minnesota), Dr. Matthias Fink (WU Vienna) and Prof Dr. Saras Sarasvathy (DSB, Virginia).

July 2012: Best paper award for PhD candidate Martin Stientra

June 2012: Paper published in the “Journal of International Entrepreneurship”
Rainer Harms and Holger Schiele analyzed the antecedents and consequences of causation and effectuation in the context of rapidly internationalizing new ventures: Harms R., Schiele H.: Antecedents and consequences of effectuation and causation in the international new venture creation process. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 95-116.

March 2012: Paper accepted in “Entrepreneurship and Regional Development”:
Fink M., Harms R. (2012): Contextualizing the relationship between self-commitment and performance: Environmental and behavioral uncertainty in (cross-border) alliances of SMEs. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Vol. 23, No. 3-4. [2011 SSCI-impact factor: .943; 5-year impact factor: 2.438].

December 2010:Paper published in the “International Journal of Business and Globalization”
Harms R., Wdowiak M., Schwarz E.J. (2010): The role of entrepreneurship- and technology transfer oriented initiatives in improving the innovation system in the Western Balkans. International Journal of Business and Globalization, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 18-34.

For more information, please contact:
PD Dr. Rainer Harms, International Entrepreneurship Research Group Leader at NIKOS (+31 53 489 3907)


PD Dr. Rainer Harms is Assistant Professor (tenure track) at NIKOS. In the IE-RG, he serves as a coordinator and is involved in many of the ongoing research activities. Rainer is Area Editor for International Entrepreneurship at ZfkE. He is a native of Germany.

Prof. Dr. Aard Groen is the Chair of Nikos and in IGS SRO leader Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Aard is involved in many IE research group activities. He is a native from The Netherlands.

Prof. Shaker Zahra (PhD) is 3TU Professor for International Entrepreneurship and holds the Robert E. Buuck Chair of Entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota. He is a native of Egypt.

 Martin Stienstra (Msc.) is lecturer at the NIKOS International Management group. He is interested in cultural aspects of international entrepreneurship. He is a native of The Netherlands.


PD Dr. Matthias Fink is Associate Professor at the Institute for SME Management and Entrepreneurship, WU Vienna. In the IE Research Group, he is involved in the analysis the role of trust in cross-border SME co-operations. He is a native of Austria.

Prof. Dr. Sascha Kraus, is Professor for Entrepreneurship at Utrecht University School of Economics (USE) and at the University of Lichtenstein. He participates in the IE Research Group on issues such as Corporate and Strategic Entrepreneurship. He is a German citizen.

Examples of current projects

The EPICC Project; Entrepreneurial Processes in a Cultural Context
Entrepreneurial processes describe the sequence of activities and decisions that lead from an initial idea to a successful venture. Previous research suggests that entrepreneurs work in a way in which they have a very good idea of what sort of market can be served. They also seem to know which resources they should gather to succeed. This can lead to an assumption that the entrepreneurs are in control of the situation now and in the future.

However, more recent research on entrepreneurial processes has begun to explore that assumption, one example being recent work around "effectuation". The research on effectuation shows that successful entrepreneurs work in different ways. They work with means available, are not specifically focused on a market and are not so much concerned on keeping control over what happens in the future.  This stresses the importance of entrepreneurs' perceptions, rather than the environmental reality, on shaping the entrepreneurial process.

Click here for more information about this project

Effectuation and causation in international new venture creation
International new venture creation can be regarded as a process that starts at the initial idea of “going international” and ends with the establishment of a sustainable new venture in a foreign market. And while there is ample literature on the internationalization process on the firm level (Johanson and Vahlne, 2009), the literature on internationalization processes on the level of one particular entry remains underdeveloped. We draw on the literature on effectuation and causation to analyze international new venture creation processes. We propose that the application of either effectuation resp. causation impacts on the entry mode selection and the country selection.

Partners: Entrepreneur of the Year e.V. Germany

Trust in cross-border SME collaboration
The current literature discusses the effectiveness of trust-based behavioral coordination in inter-company cooperative relationships. Several authors show that, for international cooperations, trust and self-commitment assist the operation and therefore the performance of the cooperation. However, the critical role of self-commitment for SMEs that participate in cooperative internationalization has until now hardly been researched. This is surprising, particularly when considering the attractiveness of internationalization for these enterprises, as well as the favorable conditions in SMEs that allow trust to evolve. Thus, our research sets out to investigate the operation and the performance contribution of cooperative inter-firm relationships that are based on trust in the internationalization of SMEs.

Partners: Dr. Matthias Fink, WU Vienna; Prof. Dr. Sascha Kraus, Utrecht

Configurations for successful internationalization
International Performance is a key research topic in the IE and IB literature. A large part of previous studies, however, is concerned with factor-type models in which linear relationships between organizational, strategic and environmental factors and performance are assumed. We build on the configuration approach (Miller and Friesen) and investigate complex, non linear relationships between imperatives. As a goal, we develop a taxonomy of internationalization types and develop mid-range theories to explain their Gestalt.

Partners: NIKOS and collaborating companies