These projects focus on different challenges and opportunities linked to SME competitiveness in rural and sparsely populated areas. The projects strive to improve public policies by adopting and implementing territorial action plans.

Some projects take a broad perspective to finding solutions to a plethora of challenges such as lack of access to finance (including venture capital), communication and logistics difficulties, lack of access to knowledge and integration of R&D results, lack of cluster formation, minimal availability of innovation services and promotion of ICT and low level of internationalization. This is the case with the Rural SMEs project which focuses on providing support for entrepreneurship and the creation of innovative SMEs in rural areas. 

Providing entrepreneurship training to the local community is a measure that can be used to improve rural competitiveness. In the region of Vale do Ave (Portugal) youth unemployment has been tackled with the good practice ASA – Ave Social Angels where awareness-raising and training for employability and entrepreneurship are provided for short-term unemployed and NEET youths.

Good practice: Collective brand “Bohinjsko/From Bohinj ” (Western Slovenia) ” 

Bohinj is a rural alpine destination in the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park. The Bohinj collective brand “Bohinjsko/From Bohinj” is a local network of providers of produce , culinary products and crafted products with the aim of ensuring coordinated cooperation and greater visibility of the Bohinj destination. It was set up to achieve cooperation and greater visibility of the Bohinj destination.  It was set up to achieve greater efficiency and recognition of authentic experiences in the region. 

This good practice also relies on certification to ensure the quality under the brand. By promoting and selling quality local goods of the Alpine region under one brand the competitiveness of the offer and destination as a whole are supported while strengthening the local economy. 

Within the Rural SMES project there is a similar good practice that can be read here..

The full policy brief can be downloaded from our Interreg Europe library folder here...