INTRA – next step in supporting the internationalization of SME


The first phase of project INTRA, dedicated to identification, selection, validation and transfer of knowledge with the aim of improving existing regional policies supporting the internationalization of SME, is coming to a close.

Within the second phase the project partners will monitor the activities of the managing authorities of these policies and their implementation of the agreed action plans for the next two years.


The first phase of the Interreg Europe project was dedicated to identification, collection, validation and transference of knowledge, aiming at improving existing regional strategies that support the internationalization of SMEs within the six project partner regions. The INTRA partnership is strong in terms of regional development, business support organisations including cluster, science and technology parks, business incubators as well as the universities. The project partners were focused on identification of good practices within their region and sharing the most interesting to the whole partnership during the Study visits. And as it turns out, there were many such cases, as the project identified almost one hundred study cases, of which 83 were validated by the partnership (including regional stakeholders of each partner) and included in the Good Practice Handbook.

The practices observed during the study visits have presented the different aspects of supporting SMEs and the various instruments used. The pro and contra of each instruments was not only the topic of Interregional thematic workshops in which renowned experts in the field of internationalisation took part but also in the Interregional Task Force, which evaluated all observed good practices. By preparing an elaborated research – the Regional State of Affairs, constantly discussing the issues of internationalization with the regional stakeholders and the International Task Force consisting of project partners and their external experts in the field, each of the partners gained a far better understanding to the needs of their regional SMEs and the obstacles they are facing, while trying to access the currently offered support tools and mechanisms. Attending the study visits allowed the partners to identify the best suited practices abroad, which could bridge the gap between regional SME needs and support offered to them; and again discuss these cases with the regional stakeholders.

This structure enabled the project partners to best present the Managing Authorities/Intermediate Bodies in charge of policies for supporting the internationalisation within Regional Operational Programmes of Cohesion Policy, how a certain support mechanism could be improved and how the region would benefit from this. Changed policies, benefiting SMEs in overcoming their internationalisation challenges and barriers as well as increased cooperation among the stakeholders in internationalisation environment was the focus of all INTRA activities that led to the development of Action plans to be implemented in the Phase 2 of the INTRA project. The role of the project partners will change: from implementing activities to monitoring the actions, which managing authorities will implement in the following two years.


The Action Plan for Slovenia was validated by the Regional Stakeholder Group on February 28th, 2019, at the 6th Regional Stakeholder Meeting in Maribor. In the Action Plan, Maribor Development Agency prepared 2 models that will empower SMEs for internationalization and can be accessed through the online portal for supporting SMEs in internationalization The two models are:

• A guide for self-assessment of export potential and readiness of a company,

• A guide among the public support institutions in Slovenia, supporting SMEs on various levels of their internationalization process.


The Action Plan also includes a voucher scheme for supporting internationalization, which includes:

• Voucher for obtaining certification,

• Voucher for legal consulting and translation of legal documents,

• Voucher for foreign market research,

• Voucher for participation at joint presentations of Slovenian economy at fairs,

• Voucher for participation at outgoing economic delegations,

• Voucher for participation at international forums.


The role of the project partners in the second phase is to monitor the activities of managing authorities, who are implementing the actions plans for the next two year.




You can find more info at the website of the project INTRA:


For more information, you can contact:

dr. Amna Potočnik, project manager: [email protected], 02/333-13-13, 031/605-508

mag. Borut Jurišić, public relations: [email protected], 02/333-13-16, 040/852-313