The Internationalisation of Family SMEs in the Valencian Region: The growing role played by Latin America, 1980-2018

Abstract: SME's and family businesses are central elements in Spain's modern economic growth. However, their process of internationalization has been little explored in recent research, particularly when it has been primarily aimed at emerging economies.  The article aims to understand and explain the internationalisation process of SME's [from] the Valencian region in Latin America. Through a set of cases of companies from different sectors (Metal, Machinery, Chemical, Ceramics, Textile, Furniture) it is showed that since 1990, the different Latin American countries have been increasing their presence in the preferential markets of most of the 22 companies studied. The growing role of the region in the investments of Valencian SME's shows the diversification and expansion of destination markets, including geographically not only the traditional European or Arab countries but also those of Latin America. Different reasons underlie this internationalisation: but the enterprises analysed based on a case studies approach showed different models of expansion. The common denominator being that of strategies specifically developed and adapted to the destination country's local environment: from an incremental and gradual expansion.