International entrepreneurship has been studied extensively during the past decades. Oviatt’s and McDougall’s (J Int Bus Stud 25:45–64, 1994) framework describing international new ventures (INVs) has been pivotal in developing this research field. This paper adds to this research field through focusing on a particular type of INVs that typically regard social impact as the core objective rather than a positive side-effect to profit. We collectively label these firms international social ventures (ISV). The paper provides two interrelated contributions. Firstly, a literature review brings a systematic overview of the extant ISV research. Secondly, building on this, five propositions are developed in close relation to each of the essential elements positioned in Oviatt’s and McDougall’s (J Int Bus Stud 25:45–64, 1994) seminal INV framework. In doing so, we illustrate that ISVs share some general characteristics with INVs. However, the particular manifestation of these deviates from the traditional type of INVs. In addition, the underlying rationale differs from traditional pure economic logics by involving a combination of both social and economic logics. The paper proceeds to bring suggestions for future research.
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