The Good Practice constitute a direct financial support of the Regional Operational Program to SMEs internationalisation activities.
Inserted in the Axis 2 of the Regional Operational Program “Supporting Internationalisation and Business Competitiveness and Qualified Entrepreneurship”. In the context of the established RIS3 sectors, its main aim is to increase competitiveness and external awareness of products/services and to stimulate business investment. By contributing to open new export channels and strengthening the SMEs internationalization, the practice intends to strengthen the competitiveness of enterprises, promote increased exports of high technology products and encourage more integration into international value chains, recognizing their importance in creating more jobs and wealth.

Individual SME internationalization projects targeting the following areas are susceptible to support: Knowledge of external markets; Presence on the web, through the digital economy; International development and promotion of trademarks; Prospecting and presence in international markets; International marketing; Introduction of a new method of organization in commercial practices or external relations; Specific certifications for external markets.

The maximum incentive is 500.000€ (ERDF) and is calculated by applying a maximum rate of 45% to eligible expenditure (non-refundable). The following expenses are considered eligible:
- Acquisitions for application of new organizational methods;
- Participation in fairs and exhibitions abroad;
- Specialized consultancy services provided by external consultants.

Resources needed

Each call is allocated with 500.000€, and during the Regional Operational Program implementation (2014-2020) it is foreseen the opening of one call per semester.

Evidence of success

The practice is a financing mechanism that derives and operationalises the Regional Operational Program, enabling SMEs to strengthen their internationalization capacity and skills. It it an instrument fully dedicated to increase the SMEs capacity to reach new and foreign markets by providing a direct funding support.

Within the period 2014-2017, the GP achieved the following results:
- 61 projects approved;
- More than 7.000.000€ approved to internationalisation projects.

Potential for learning or transfer

The GP presents a regional call for tenders to support, financially, SMEs in expanding their export base, increasing the number of new SMEs exporting and increasing the volume of international sales companies that already export. The main aspect to underline in terms of transferability is the fact that the support is closely connected with the sectors established within the regional RIS3. In this sense, this instrument is one of the concrete tools that the Operational Program offer to support internationalization of regional SMEs.

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


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Good Practices being followed by

Konstantinos Karamarkos

EU Projects Freelancer - RIS3 Specialist - Urbact Lead Expert - Council of Europ

Patricia Masip

Ajuntament de Sant Cugat del Vallès

susanna longo


Soizic Linford

Coventry University Enterprises

Alistair Pyper

Department for the Economy Northern Ireland

Balázs Kiss

TCDA Tolna County Development Agency Nonprofit Ltd.