Summary of Breaking Borders

From Canada to China, Barriers Overshadow Growth for Expanding SMEs

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Breaking Borders summary
Small and medium-sized businesses encounter abundant opportunities and daunting challenges overseas.


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With improvements in technology in an increasingly global environment, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are quickly gaining ground outside their home turfs. But as this enlightening account from the Economist Intelligence Unit reveals, numerous challenges keep some SMEs from making the leap to foreign shores. Interviews with SME executives provide a unique perspective and set this report apart. getAbstract recommends it to entrepreneurs and SME owners considering expanding their businesses beyond their borders.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What challenges small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face when expanding abroad,
  • Which areas of the world SMEs find most and least attractive, and
  • How some successful SMEs have globalized.


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are global growth machines; they represent some 90% of all businesses and more than half of the world’s jobs. The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 480 SMEs, most of which book between $500,000 and $20 million in annual revenue. Though respondents operate...
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About the Author

The Economist Intelligence Unit is an independent research and analysis organization.

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