Purpose – By examining SMEs’ participation in trade fairs as a way to establish network relationships within a global value chain (GVC), the purpose of this paper is to offer one example of the steps used to reach this goal. Design/methodology/approach – The study uses a priori deductions derived from prior literature and case analysis of a purposive sample of six New Zealand SMEs to develop propositions on the use of trade fairs to enter a GVC network. The authors use the typology of GVC governance developed by Gereffi et al . (2005) to investigate how the use of trade fairs varies for each governance type. Findings – The study concludes that international trade fairs offer great network-building possibilities for SMEs, as well as selling, promotion and information gathering benefits. Both theoretical argument and experiential evidence suggest that these benefits are contingent on the GVC’s governance type. Originality/value – Although there is extensive work on the importance of networks to SME internationalisation, less has been done on the detailed steps used to build these networks.
Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 16, 2015
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