Simplified support for the 1st export. Includes an expert (certified) to help doing the diagnostic and initial prospection of external markets, during 1 year.
Alentejo region has a high potential for internationalization that relies on strategic assets diversified and referenced in the theme areas of the RIS3 that give it competitive advantages and should be mobilized and monetized with Internationalization.
The regional business fabric is characterized by being very directed towards the internal market (especially micro and small companies) and with poor financial capacity of SMEs to leverage internationalization processes.
Regional external Trade indicators evidence I) difficulties in the penetration of SMEs in the international market; II) Weaknesses in the level of its financial capacity to leverage internationalization processes, iii) the need to strengthen technical and management capacities particularly in intangible areas, at the level of organization, innovation and International marketing.

It is a simplified instrument, from direct incentives to individual projects promoted by SME´s that:
-Promote their international presence through the elaboration of business models oriented to international markets, the realization of promotion and international marketing actions;
-Increase knowledge, prospection and access to external markets and business promotion by supporting participation in competitions, fairs, international agreements, promotion actions and direct contact with international demand;
-Use information and communication technologies and the digital economy to support the internationalization strategy.

Resources needed

Platform online for Alentejo 2020, for submission of the applications and processing of all legal proceedings. Multidisciplinary technical team for analysis of applications (ALENTEJO 2020 and AICEP). 2 contests until now, with the available budget of 1,000 thousand euros (€ 500 thousand each).

Evidence of success

It consists in a simple and easy first help to SME that want to start the internationalization process. With the help of an expert, the SME can give their first step, even doing the first testing with their products/services (in a foreign country/market) in the internationalization process without great risks. Until June 2018: Nº of proposals: 115 Projects approved: 65 (43 are micro companies) Jobs created: 82

Difficulties encountered

There are some constraints on companies: It is required that companies have not started the process of internationalization or didn´t had export activity in the 12 months preceding the application; Companies must demonstrate they have installed capacity to develop international activity.

Potential for learning or transfer

Being a simplified process allows to get answers to specific questions/problems such as the beginning of internationalization process for SME. It is a very simple process for the SME to make the proposal and get support of a certified consultant to start the internationalization process. The simplicity of the measure as well as the contribution to resolve an existent problem in many SME´s in Europe, is where we can find the potential of the practice to be transferred for other regions. The rules and the proposal template are very simple to be filed by the SME. Other interesting aspect with potential to be transferred is the accreditation system of the consultant entities, that compromises the services provided to have more guaranty of feability and quality. This practice can be easily replicated and interesting when one of the policymaker’s objectives is to improve the nº of SME´s that starts the internationalisation process.

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Main institution
Commission for Regional Development and Coordination of Alentejo
Alentejo, Portugal
Start Date
January 2014
End Date


Alexandra Correia Please login to contact the author.