The Global Entrepreneur

by Daniel J. Isenberg

FOR A CENTURY AND MORE, companies have ventured abroad only after establishing themselves at home. Moreover, when they have looked overseas, they haven’t ventured too far afield, initially. Consumer health care company Johnson & Johnson set up its first foreign subsidiary in Montreal in 1919—33 years after its founding in 1886. Sony, established in 1946, took 11 years to export its first product to the United States, the TR-63 transistor radio. The Gap, founded in 1969—the year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon—opened its first overseas store in London in 1987, a year after the Challenger space shuttle disaster.

Companies are being born global today, by contrast. Entrepreneurs don’t automatically ...

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