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Internationalisation of SMEs

Policy brief
By Platform

The internationalisation of SMEs activities is acknowledged as a factor of competitiveness for businesses and an engine for growth and welfare for the economy and the territories. Still, SMEs do not fully exploit the benefits brought by internationalisation, resulting in European economies missing growth opportunities. Consequently, supporting the internationalisation of SMEs remains a priority in SME competitiveness policies

Within the European Union, a large part of exports and imports is driven by large firms and multinational corporations only. SMEs are underrepresented in international trade: while they represent about 99% of businesses in Europe and provide two out of three jobs in the private sector, they account for far less than half of all exports and imports 

The internationalisation of SMEs is also one of the most represented topics among Interreg Europe projects in the thematic objective of SME competitiveness. This policy brief aims at highlighting the diversity of policies supporting the internationalisation of SMEs across European regions and provides an overview of the lessons learnt by the partners of Interreg Europe projects on how to best support the internationalisation of SMEs. 

The policy brief ends with some thoughts on the impact of digitalisation and the Covid-19 pandemic on the internationalisation of SMEs.