Financial support to selected projects for the international promotion of clusters of SMEs implemented by business associations and chambers of commerce
Calls have been lauched in 2017 and in 2018
Projects must allow a cluster of SMEs to be led by specialized services towards 1, max 2 foreign markets. The promoter must target a specific production sector and 1/2 countries with a high development potential for that specific sector. The promoter select the cluster companies, find specialized consultants and build/organize/carry out a series of promotional events through which SMEs can approach the new market. During the selection of the projects, the Emilia-Romagna Region gives priority to non-EU markets or to pre decided markets
Eligible promoters can be: entrepreneurial associations, Chambers of Commerce of Emilia-Romagna and the regional level Unioncamere, Italian Chambers of Commerce in the destination countries, Foundations
Eligible activities The project must be aimed at developing initiatives directed to promotion, commercial and industrial penetration. The project has to foresee a well-structured and finalized set of actions of entrepreneurial and institutional relationships
Eligible costs -expenditures for services and external evaluations of consultancy assistance to the participating SMEs of Emilia-Romagna and for the organization of institutional and/or business meetings, partner searching and missions abroad;
- expenditures for goods, services for the realization of company visits, seminars, workshops, conferences, foreign operators incoming, other promotional events
Regional contribution: 50%, max 80.000€

Resources needed

On average, yearly calls are endowed with 1,5 million Euro and 3 staff are in charge of managing the measure.
Funds are from Emilia-Romagna Region

Evidence of success

The annual regional contribution is 1,5 M € leveraging an average additional investment by the beneficiary companies/promoters of 2 M €
Cooperation between Regional Government and stakeholders allows to concentrate promotional efforts and avoid overlapping, potentially benefitting also from resources available at national level by the National Trade Agency
SMEs benefit assistance & support for entering foreign markets at a reduced cost
2017, 21 projects, 200 SMEs-2018, 16 projects, 170 SMEs

Difficulties encountered

1st Limited number of eligible promoters, i.e. business support organisation cannot be increased by Regional Government’s decision.
2nd A close monitoring of initiatives is needed either to keep them on track and to assess their impacts on the SMEs adhering to the initiatives

Potential for learning or transfer

a. With a relatively limited amount of financial resources it is possible to leverage and combine private financial resources for the benefit of a wide number of SMEs;
b. Collective promotional and market scouting actions reduce the investments needed by single SMEs and the risks involved in accessing foreign markets;
c. The measure’s success heavily depends on the experience, capacity and market knowledge and expertise of business support actors

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Main institution
Emilia-Romagna Region
Emilia-Romagna, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
January 2013
End Date
December 2020


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