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EMAC 2022 Annual

No shackles story: the case of Sustainable Born Global firms

Published: May 24, 2022


Nemkova Ekaterina, IESEG; Milena Micevski, Copenhagen Business School; Marc Herz, Kleinundpläcking GmbH; Alva Angeli, Accenture Interactive


Sustainable Born Global companies (SBGs) can be defined as young internationally-orientated entrepreneurial firms that offer practical and innovative solutions to environmental and social concerns to customers cross-borders. A qualitative research was conducted in order to understand how SBGs can achieve the desired impact and which main challenges they have to face along the way. 19 interviews with CEOs, founders and marketing executives were collected in German-speaking countries. The findings show that for SBGs access to extensive external investments often becomes a trade-off between their sustainability goals and fast-paced growth. The absolute majority of companies in our sample decided against the reliance on external investments to maintain decision-making independence, which for them was highly related to the quality of impact they are able to achieve. Instead, they relied on the process of internationalization to ensure their economic prosperity and continue their growth.