The DNA of Export maps the recipe for export success

Only 5-6 per cent of firms in the private sector are successful exporters, but they account for 26 per cent of the jobs in the sector. Together with service exporters, these relatively few firms’ international sale amounts to 50 per cent of Denmark’s GDP. And considering that there are more than 200,000 companies in Denmark, there is much greater export potential to be reaped. Aarhus University and the Danish Export Association have mapped the DNA of Export, providing the recipe for export success based on extensive research.

2015.01.26

“About 11-12,000 Danish industrial and retail firms sell their products internationally. 10 per cent of the firms in the manufacturing sector account for over 90 per cent of the export activities, and too many export ventures fail. This is unfortunate, because successful exporting firms have a greater increase in revenue and create more jobs. That’s why we need to help the less successful companies move towards international sales.”

This is the message from Ulrik Dahl, who is CEO of the Danish Export Association, which is Denmark’s largest organiser of networks, campaigns and courses for export companies. The Danish Export Association has developed the DNA of Export in collaboration with the Tuborg Research Centre for Globalisation and Firms at Aarhus University.

“Even though Denmark is a small market, we rank among the top twenty richest nations in the world, and according to the researchers, the reason for this is that Denmark is closely connected to the global economy given that we are an exporting country. Economies that are able to export will experience higher growth, increased productivity and can afford more welfare,” explains Ulrik Dahl.

Mapping the DNA for export success

Only very few thousand Danish companies make it into international markets. By studying these companies and comparing companies with or without export activities, the researchers have been able to map the strong companies’ basic DNA. The DNA makes visible the disciplines that the prominent export companies are especially strong in.

“We have some absolute top performers who deliver products and services that are competitive in the international markets. They are far better than the average Danish company, and they possess some very distinct characteristics – for instance, higher productivity and innovation rates. These are characteristics that have turned out to be decisive for firms attempting to make it in the international markets,” explains Professor Philipp Schröder.

Companies can learn from the DNA

Philipp Schröder is in charge of the mapping process, which is the result of several years of research on the globalisation of Danish companies. The research has been conducted by the Tuborg Research Centre for Globalisation and Firms at Aarhus University.

“It’s important to tell other companies what the top performers in the Danish business community are doing right. The DNA of Export should be a source of inspiration and change in the companies that are eager to enter new markets, to companies that need growth and the companies that may have come to a halt in their international development.”

Recipe for export is scientifically proven

These top performers are not only large companies. In fact, small and medium sized companies account for 46 per cent of the export of products in the private sector, and a little fewer than 200 large companies account for 54 per cent.

“The Danish company structure is marked by SMEs. More of these companies should be able to make an international breakthrough and achieve the growth that follows from export success. But in order to do so, they need to learn from others who have cracked the code, and this is the very goal of the DNA of Export. For the first time ever, we have a practical, commercial recipe for export success, which has been scientifically proven,” explains Ulrik Dahl.

Fact box: The DNA of Export

  • The mapping has been done through a unique collaboration between research and practical experience by the Danish Export Association and the Tuborg Research Centre for Globalisation and Firms, Aarhus University.
  • Based on comprehensive scientific analyses of the distinct characteristics of Danish and foreign companies with export success.
  • Based on internationally recognised research results.
  • Based on e.g. registry data from Statistics Denmark concerning all Danish companies over a period of more than 10 years.
  • The Tuborg Research Centre for Globalisation and Firms at Aarhus University comprises more than 20 internal and external researchers. The research has been supported by the Tuborg Foundation since 2008.
  • The Danish Export Association is Denmark’s largest organiser of sector-specific networks, campaigns and courses on export sales.
  • The Danish Export Association is private, non-profit and owned by its 570 member companies.
  • Throughout 2015, the DNA of Export will be disseminated to Danish companies through articles, animation films, conferences, after-work meetings, website etc.
  • www.eksportensdna.dk (in Danish only)

Fact box: Danish export

  • Only 5-6 per cent of Danish companies account for all active goods export in the private sector.
  • These companies account for:

    • 37 per cent of the value added
    • 35 per cent of the turnover
    • 26 per cent of the jobs

  • In the manufacturing sector, 10 per cent of the companies account for 90 per cent of the export of goods
  • If one consider goods exporters and service exporters as a group, then these relatively few thousand companies generate  international sales corresponding to about 50 per cent of Denmark’s GDP.
  • Sources: Statistics Denmark and the Tuborg Research Centre for Globalisation and Firms, Aarhus University

Further information

Philipp Schröder, professor and director of the Tuborg Research Centre for Globalisation and Firms, Aarhus University, tel. +45 30229123

Ulrik Dahl, Director of the Danish Export Association, tel. +45 30318788

Kristine Stange, communication and marketing manager, the Danish Export Association, tel. 22998017

 

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