The EIS project partners gathered for the fourth Interregional Learning Workshop (ILW) in December, this time in the old town of Évora in the Alentejo region in Portugal.

This fourth ILW marked the end of the Peer Reviews of the project. All 7 partner regions have now had their business support systems analysed by the other partner regions and main stakeholders.


Peer Reviewing the Emilia-Romagna and Alentejo Regions

The last two regions to undergo Peer Review were the Italian Emilia-Romagna Region and the Portuguese host region of Alentejo. Here are the highlights and important takeaways: one of Alentejo’s strengths is that the Region has many different tools and services available for SMEs. Another strength, which was noted, is that they have been successful in mobilising many businesses – there are always many applicants for the different tools and services on offer. This means that the different options for SMEs in Alentejo, are not only plentiful, but also relevant to the SMEs. The partners pointed out that the Region could improve their gathering of information on how and why the SMEs use their services. in order to improve current initiatives and underpin the initiatives for the future.


In the Peer Review, of Emilia-Romagna, the partners proposed that the Region look towards where the EU is signing trade agreements in order to decide where to emphasise their internationalisation efforts. Emilia-Romagna can thereby take advantage of the access that EU trade agreements give companies from the Region. It was also proposed that they focus more on meeting clients personally.


Study visits in Évora

 To learn more about the Region’s SME’s, the EIS partners visited the buildings of Alentejo Science and Technology Park, which hosts young companies focused on technological solutions with high market potential. Science-focused and experimental companies are hosted, as well, with modern facilities to test and try prototypes. This reduces the costs for companies and obstacles such as gaining access to 3D printers.

Afterwards the group visited ANJE – a Portuguese network of incubators covering the entire country. They are concerned with young entrepreneurs and has been so since 1986. ANJE is the central organisation in Portugal when it comes to ensuring the interests of young entrepreneurs. ANJE hosts workshops and mentors young entrepreneurs in the country. In that way, the Science and Technology Park and the ANJE incubators, complement each other in their work with entrepreneurs.


After a productive ending to 2017, the EIS partners are now looking forward to the meetings in the first half of 2018, which will be hosted by Donegal, Ireland, in April and in Koprivnicki, Croatia, in June.


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