© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. In this paper, we explored the relationship between the sustainable and international entrepreneur to define the phenomenon of “international ecopreneur.” This notion is applied in an empirical case study research about six Spanish eco-entrepreneurial new ventures competing in the renewable energy industry and showing their early endeavors to enter international markets. Results of this study emphasize that sustainability issues and making the world a better place to live, as ecopreneurs’ philosophical view, are key driving forces for early international development of eco-entrepreneurial companies, even in the pre-commercialization phase. Evidences derived from the cases show that appropriate international skills and experience-based knowledge in the energy sector and entrepreneurship are essential qualities for being successful in an emerging and globally integrated industry like renewable energies. Our results imply that ecopreneurs’ formal and informal ties, inner values, and prior international experience and education, particularly accumulated in the international context, are a determinant factor in opportunity recognition and international business development. Policy makers, for designing a more effective policy, should pay particular attention to the importance of non-financial incentives for encouraging ecopreneurs to enter international market. An important limitation of our study is that we only explored ecopreneurs’ behavior in renewable energy industry in Spain. Further research is suggested to empirically examine the current results in other contexts with distinctive energy policy schemes and in other sustainability-related industries.
- Opportunity recognition
- Renewable energy industry