Internationalisation is the expansion of a firms operations to foreign markets and includes not only import and export but also foreign direct investments and international cooperation. Today’s globalising economy has resulted in a growing number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) undertaking international activities. Internationalisation has been shown to be very beneficial for firms. Cross-border activities are an important means through which SMEs are able to create value, generate growth and access new knowledge and technologies. A strong relation has also been found between innovation and internationalisation: innovation may both be necessary to enter foreign markets as well as be a consequence of a firm’s foreign market activities. In addition to value creation at the firmlevel, crossborder entrepreneurship is assumed to create wealth at an economy wide level. With so many evident benefits to internationalisation, why don’t more SMEs internationalise? In her inaugural lecture Anne van Delft will illustrate the importance of “cooperation within networks” in international business. In today’s “network economy” it is important for firms to leverage their networks. Managing the interplay between networks and knowledge will be one of the key challenges for the 21st century. Cooperation with other firms is especially important for SMEs because it allows firms to utilise their limited resources in the most efficient way. Some of the sectors in the Rotterdam region are world leaders but nevertheless their main competitor might soon come from an emerging market rather than form within the regional cluster. The benefits of cooperation and knowledge sharing should therefore be exploited fully by SMEs in the Rotterdam region as global competition increases.