Regional competitiveness and growth depend heavily on the ability of its SMEs to internationalise. However, the process faces several obstacles, including: SME?s lack of access to knowledge intensive networks at regional as well as European level; lack of tailored and co-ordinated support with responding to needs amongst SMEs in different sectors/clusters and entrepreneurs with different backgrounds such as, for example, academic based businesses or family businesses; and lack of pro-active policies and practices amongst regional players to meet the rapid changes in the knowledge society.
The central objective of this project was to boost entrepreneurship and thecompetitiveness and internationalisation of SMEs through a local support network. E-Teams implemented a strategy for supporting entrepreneurship which involved the creation of multidisciplinary teams with public entities, municipalities, SME support agencies, universities and entrepreneurs. In the central region, this partnership has involved the following players: Central Portugal Regional Development Coordination (CCDRC), Central Portugal Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Economy (DRE-CENTRO), IAPMEI - Support Institute for Small and Medium Enterprises and Investment, CEC-CCIC - Central Region Business Council, Municipality of Castelo Branco, Municipality of Mortágua, Municipality of Proenca-a-Nova, AIBAP - Beira Atlantic Park Incubator Association (Mira), IEFF - Figueira da Foz Business Incubator, D. Dinis Incubator (Leiria) and OPEN Association. The work of this partnership gave rise to RIERC - the Central Region Business Incubator Network (http://www.incubar.net/).