UPGRADESME PROJECT EXTENSION SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED INTERREGIONAL POLICY DIALOGUE WITH A FOCUS ON COVID-19
30. September 2022 | Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
The Interreg project UpGradeSME focused on the analysis of 8 policy instruments supporting SME export activities across six European regions. This interregional dialogue has been continued in a one-year extension of the project which expanded the project’s focus to an in-depth analysis of Covid-19 impact on SME internationalization.
For this analysis, partners collected feedback from regional SMEs and their respective policy instruments, conducting a total of 133 interviews. Regarding policy instruments, the analysis focused on potential changes or adaptations as a reaction to the challenges SMEs faced during the pandemic.
The resulting interregional study highlighted disruptions related to supply chains (e.g. higher raw material prices and scarcity), internal operations (e.g. cancellation of orders), market entry strategies, but also internal communication and teamwork as major challenges for SMEs during the pandemic. However, the study also described the strategies SMEs have adopted to address these challenges, and highlighted the ability of many SMEs to use the crisis as an opportunity for change in their business strategy, and/or digitalization processes. These inputs were presented to stakeholders from business support organizations and SMEs in a joint workshop of the Interreg projects UpGradeSME and Social Seeds organized by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum.
The extended UpGradeSME project ended with a final partner meeting in Budapest in September 2022 where partners exchanged on regional good practices regarding policy instrument support for SMEs during the pandemic and SME internationalization solutions in the 6 partner regions.