The study aims to explore the internal management and entrepreneurial factors that affect the internationalisation process of ready-made-garment (RMG) SMEs in Bangladesh. The study collects information from 46 apparel SMEs located in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and is followed by a pilot survey. Results reveal that entrepreneurs’ management capability, foreign language skill, and e-commerce orientation play an instrumental role in the internationalisation process. In addition to common institutional impediments, the study finds entrepreneurial and managerial capabilities that make a difference in the internationalisation of apparel SMEs. Since the nature of the apparel business is buyer driven, establishing and maintaining a ‘network’ and ‘learning’ are the most important aspects for internationalisation process, which are dependent on the entrepreneur’s management capability, foreign language skill and the extent to which e-commerce is adopted in the firm. In studying these buyer-driven firms, i.e. RMGs, researchers not only should consider the traditional theories of internationalisation, but take into account the perspectives of both lead firms and supplier firms within the global value chain in which both interact and conduct their operations.
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2013, Vol 19, Issue 4, p. 517-542
SME, internationalisation, global value chain, garments in Bangladesh, emerging market