SME competitiveness

Competitiveness of SMEs icon

Competitiveness of SMEs is at the forefront of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, inclusive and sustainable growth. The European Commission developed several instruments to support SMEs directly or to help regional and national policymakers assist their SMEs. National and regional policymakers in Europe also devote a large part of their economic development policies to SMEs.

Supporting the capacity of SMEs to engage in growth in regional, national and international markets is one of the new INTERREG EUROPE themes. It is a complex field implying the necessary understanding of what entrepreneurship, financing, growth capacity, business transfer and internationalisation mean. It also entails incorporation of new forms of SME development, such as design, eco-conception, corporate social responsibility, virtual reality into the relevant policies.

With the current European focus on the competitiveness of SMEs, regional policymakers will have to develop and improve their approaches to SME support. INTERREG EUROPE offers policymakers the means to accelerate the design and implementation of their policies, making them as effective and efficient as possible.

Read more at the Interreg Europe programme manual (§2.5.3) 

Project examples

  • Cooperation among regional authorities and business support agencies to exchange practices on the set-up and management of seed-capital facilities to support SMEs, to prepare the creation of such financial support schemes through the partners’ programmes for Investment for Growth and Jobs or other regional business support programmes.
  • Regional authorities and business support actors sharing experiences on awareness raising and building entrepreneurial capacities among young people and developing action plans for the introduction of young entrepreneur support schemes in their regions. 
  • Exchange of practices about SME internationalisation and export support facilities among regional development agencies, resulting in action plans for establishing new and improving existing SME internationalisation support facilities in each region through a project under the regional Growth and Jobs programme or other regional programmes.

Suggested reading

Innovation Systems publication

Interreg Europe programme manual


This important document gives detailed information on the programme, platforms and on setting-up and implementing interregional cooperation projects.


Innovation Systems publication

Interreg Europe Cooperation Programme


This is the final version of the Cooperation Programme approved by all partner states and submitted to the European Commission for approval. It is currently awaiting approval by EC.


Suggested presentations

INTERREG EUROPE for SME competitiveness (03/12/2014, Bologna, IT)

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