Programme to set up export groups: small and medium companies work together on previously detected business opportunities in a given foreign market
The size of most of Navarrese SMEs is the major handicap when going
international. GEX programme helps SMEs to gather on a competitive, sustainable and profitable ground to introduce their products in a foreign market.
Three key ideas:
1. Starting from the demand and not from the offer.
2. Discovering sufficient and tangible "market niches"
3. Structuring a "joint market platform" around market opportunities.
The program is developed in three phases:
Phase 1, preparation (sept-oct 17). Experts in the creation of export platforms trained staff within the Government as well as selected private consultants who will be monitoring the Export Groups. This public-private team will be in charge of boosting the creation of new platforms. At the same time, during this phase business opportunities were detected for different sectors and strategic markets for Navarra. The relevance of the opportunities and their fit with the Navarrese business fabric was taken into consideration: gourmet and healthy food in Mexico and kosher certificate in USA were the niche markets selected.
Phase 2, selection of companies (oct-nov). Selection of the companies who may form the platforms. The companies interested in the programme attended a workshop where synergies were sought to build the joint export groups.
Phase 3 (nov-ongoing). Creation and consolidation of the platforms. The consultants and staff from the Government monitored the selected companies and start working together.

Resources needed

Staff needed: 2 people from the Government.
Budget. +/-60.000 euro for hiring the experts, the consultants and in house company support

Evidence of success

In May 2018, 2 export groups have signed their legal and official establishment. From now on they will work on their own in the Mexican gourmet market.
One of the groups consist of 11 small companies from the agrifood sector, some of them with no previous experience in foreign markets.
The other group consist of 4 medium companies from the agrifood sector.
The kosher certificate opportunity in the USA market was dropped due to the lack of interest.

Difficulties encountered

To explain to the companies the procedure to be followed.
Some companies are reluctant to cooperate with other companies belonging to the same sector. Difficult to overcome barriers such as competitiveness among SMEs within the same sector.

Potential for learning or transfer

After working for several years in grouping programmes for internationalization, the Government had realized that it would be easier to work around specific market opportunities, so the companies can somehow ensure their success.
Having very detailed information of the market niche and having during the whole procedure a service of monitoring make the export easier and encourage those companies who had never exported before to join the programme.

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Main institution
Government of Navarra
Comunidad Foral de Navarra, Spain (España)
Start Date
September 2017
End Date


Amaya Gurbindo Please login to contact the author.

Good Practices being followed by

Irina Craciun

Ministry of Labour and Social Justice

Alistair Pyper

Department for the Economy Northern Ireland