This article examines the speed of internationalization by newly established firms operating in the rapidly changing environment of a country undergoing radical systemic transition, as exemplified by Poland. A longitudinal analysis of the speed of internationalization, measured by the time between the year of establishment and the year of the first export sale, identified three interesting patterns. First, both incumbent state-owned firms and private companies operating under communism played marginal roles in the internationalization process after transition to the market economy system. Second, the entrepreneurial start-ups typically embarked on exports shortly after their establishment. Third, the entrepreneurial start-ups that focused initially on the domestic market were rarely engaging in export operations later on. This aspect of the internationalization process has not been adequately explained by the extant mainstream management theories (new institutional economics, transaction cost and resource-based view). This paper offers an alternative theoretical framework for the internationalization of entrepreneurial start-ups in transition economies by extending Shapero’s social psychological model of entrepreneurial events.