Journal of International Entrepreneurship

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 103–126 | Cite as

International ecopreneurs: The case of eco-entrepreneurial new ventures in the renewable energy industry

  • Seyed Meysam Zolfaghari Ejlal ManeshEmail author
  • Alex Rialp-Criado


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.


Ecopreneurs Internationalization Motivation Opportunity recognition Renewable energy industry Spain 


En este trabajo, exploramos la relación entre el emprendedor sostenible y el emprendedor internacional para definir el fenómeno del “eco-emprendedor internacional”. Esta noción se aplica en una investigación empírica basada en el estudio de casos relativos a seis nuevas empresas españolas eco-emprendedoras que compiten en el sector de las energías renovables y manifiestan tempranos esfuerzos para entrar precozmente en los mercados internacionales. Los resultados de esta investigación enfatizan la importancia de las perspectivas filosóficas y las características personales de los ecopreneurs en el desarrollo internacional de sus empresas eco-emprendedoras. Además, la evidencia derivada de los casos de estudio también pone de manifiesto que las características apropiadas de los eco-emprendedores internacionales constituyen un elemento esencial para tener éxito en una industria emergente e integrada globalmente como es la de las energías renovables. Nuestros resultados implican que los lazos formales e informales de los eco-emprendedores, sus valores internos y su experiencia y educación internacional previa, particularmente acumulada en el contexto internacional, son un factor determinante en el reconocimiento y desarrollo de oportunidades comerciales internacionales. Los responsables públicos, para diseñar una política más eficaz, deberían prestar especial atención a la importancia de los incentivos no financieros para alentar a estos empresarios a ingresar al mercado internacional. Una limitación importante de nuestro estudio es que sólo exploramos el comportamiento de los eco-emprendedores en la industria de las energías renovables en España. Se sugiere, por tanto, realizar otras investigaciones para corroborar empíricamente los resultados actuales en otros contextos con esquemas de política energética distintivos y en otras industrias relacionadas con la sostenibilidad.

Palabras clave

Eco-emprendedores internacionalización motivación reconocimiento de oportunidad sector de energías renovables España 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EAE Business SchoolMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of BusinessUniversitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)Bellaterra (Barcelona)Spain

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