Internationalization of New-Zealand Based Social Enterprise: An Exploratory Study

Syed Afaf, Irfan
Mowatt, Simon
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

International social enterprises (ISEs) have both high social and economic value as they have the power to tackle major social and environmental challenges at a global level. These enterprises make use of innovative business models to bring about a positive social change by supporting marginalized groups, empowering communities, and promoting sustainable development. This exploratory study focuses on analysing the process through which social enterprises in New Zealand internationalise. In particular, the study aims to explore the issues faced by these social enterprises during the process of internationalization. By providing an in-depth analysis of the experiences of social enterprises in New Zealand, this research aims to offer valuable insights into the complexities of international business expansion. The objective of this research was to address the gaps identified in previous studies concerning social enterprise internationalization, by examining their relevance in the context of the New Zealand social enterprise sector. To achieve this, interviews were conducted with three New Zealand -based social enterprises that had expanded beyond their local borders. Through the adoption of an exploratory approach, a comprehensive understanding was gained regarding how social enterprises based in New Zealand undergo the process of internationalization. The research has confirmed several critical factors that impact the process of internationalizing social enterprises. These factors comprise the selection of stakeholders during cross-border expansion, the pivotal role of networking for social entrepreneurs in the expansion process, the possibility of mission drift, the significance of economic networks, and the critical role of government support during the early stages of internationalization, which was found to be particularly crucial in the New Zealand context. This makes several theoretical implications, as it lays the groundwork for a comprehensive framework that explains how social enterprises can successfully expand their operations beyond national borders. Moreover, this research has practical significance for social enterprise managers, who can benefit from the effective strategies and tools identified in this study to manage the risks associated with the process of internationalization. Additionally, policy makers can use the findings of this research to provide ongoing support to social enterprises that are expanding their reach across borders.

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