© 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: In this study, entrepreneurial internationalization in renewable energy industry as a high-tech and emerging industry was explored. The focus of this study is on firm level factors to understand how and why these companies entered the international markets and what are their challenges and difficulties in this process. To answer these questions, two main streams of literature were used: international entrepreneurship (IE) and sustainable entrepreneurship. Design/methodology/approach: Case study methodology is selected for this research. Because this subject is new and empirical researches in renewable energy industry are scarce, a method to gather research and in-depth data was adopted. Following suggestions by Eisenhardt (1989), a multiple-case design method was used with nine cases of entrepreneurial companies in renewable energy industry from Spain. Findings: Results show that in renewable energy industry firms, resources and capabilities such as need for funding and rapid commercialization are key factors that encourage companies to enter the international market. However, having access to the technological knowledge cannot be a compelling reason for internationalization of renewable energy companies from Spain. Moreover, the interaction between the large and small firms is an important factor that facilitates the process of internationalization. Research limitations/implications: In this study, the focus was only on firm level factors, whereas other levels of analysis such as entrepreneur, environment, policy scheme and industrial factors need further attention in future studies. Moreover, this study is only limited to Spanish companies, and future studies can be replicated in other context. Practical implications: Findings of the study have significant theoretical and empirical implications. First of all, it explains the entrepreneurial internationalization by taking advantage of sustainable entrepreneurship literature. In addition, empirical results of this study are significantly important for entrepreneurs to implement effective internationalization strategy to survive. Findings of this study can help policy makers for designing a supportive scheme for further development of this industry in the international markets. Originality/value: This paper explores the entrepreneurial internationalization of renewable energy companies as an emerging industry by taking advantage of two streams of literature: international entrepreneurship and sustainable entrepreneurship. The results show the phenomenon of early internationalization in pre-commercialization phase. These findings put emphasis on interaction between large and small firms in process of internationalization in this specific industry.
- International entrepreneurship
- Pre-commercial internationalization
- Renewable energy industry
- Sustainable entrepreneurship