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Accelerating SME Internationalization: Academic, Policy and Practitioner Perspective

Venue: Birkbeck Main Building, MAL B04, Malet Street, Bloomsbury London WC1E 7HX

This event has ended.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are important for economic sustainability, not only due to their cumulative capacity to generate employment, but also due to their innovativeness and agility. With Globalization, SMEs not only have increased opportunities to internationalize but also to develop their innovative and dynamic capabilities and use them effectively to compete against other companies in the global market. However, an annual survey conducted by the Department for International Trade, UK, reported that 66% of exporters have encountered significant barriers to their overseas development.

Supporting SME internationalization has been proposed as a main strategy to un-lock UK’s productivity challenge. It has been estimated that up to 110,000 SMEs could introduce and/or increase their internationalization activities, which will add an extra £1.15 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy, within the first year, in the form of new and higher value jobs (Enterprise Research Centre 2015). As SME internationalization is quite complex due to these firms facing several barriers for internationalization, there is a greater scope for accelerators and similar organizations that generally provide workspace, mentoring, coaching, funding and other services, such as opportunities for networking and learning, to support and accelerate internationalization process of SMEs.

It is in this context, we organize this workshop to share our understanding of how to accelerate SME internationalization. We discuss this from academic, policy and practitioner perspective and intend to develop a working group to take this conversation forward.

The event is free and open to public 


12:00- 12:45 - Lunch

12:45 – 13:00- Welcome and Introduction – Dr Marion Fenz Co-director, Centre for Innovation Management Research

13:00- 14:00 Academic Perspective: Accelerators in US and UK

What can we learn from accelerators in Silicon Valley? Prof Tomasz Mroczkowski, Professor and Chair, Department of International Business, Kogod School of Business, American University

The effect of services provided by accelerators on SME performance Dr Muthu de Silva, Senior Lecturer, Birkbeck, University of London and Dr Ainurul Rosli, Reader, Brunel Business School, University of Brunel

14:00- 14:20 Break

14:20- 15:20 Policy Perspective: Accelerating SME Internationalization

Chair: Professor Jeremy Howells, Kent Business School, University of Kent


Dr Sivasegaram Manimaaran, Head of European and Global Portfolio, InnovateUK

Rebecca Goulding, SME Manager, Connected Places Catapult

Huw Watkins, Head the Asia Policy team, Intellectual Property Office

15:20- 15:40 Break

15:40- 16:40 Practitioner Perspective: Accelerating SME Internationalization

Chair: Dr Benjamin Reid, Head of International Innovation - Development Programmes at Nesta


Asif Faruque, Head of Content, Level39 Accelerator

Alex Packham, Founder & CEO, ContentCal

Nektarios Liolios, Nektarios Liolios, Co-founder Startupbootcamp FinTech

16:40- 17:00 Conclusions/Final remarks

Sponsors: Birkbeck, University of London; Brunel Business School, Brunel University London; Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE)

Funding: The event is free to attend. If you are an early career researcher (i.e. those who have completed their PhDs within last three years) and wish to cover travel expenses, please contact Dr Muthu De Silva ( 

Contact name:

Contact phone: 07796506886


Dr Muthu De Silva,Dr Ainurul Rosli ,Angelina Cannizzaro ,Nektarios Liolios ,Alex Packham ,Asif Faruque,Prof Tomasz Mroczkowski ,Huw Watkins ,Dr Sivasegaram Manimaaran