The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Research Project: Thematic analysis of transnational cooperation: small and medium-sized enterprises as target groups of a spatially oriented policy

Project briefing

  • Status Completed
  • Project duration February 2014 – April 2015
  • Programme MORO

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of the European economy. During the last programming periods, however, SMEs have not been the focus of Interreg programmes. This is why the project aimed to make the results of transnational cooperation projects relating to SMEs more usable for the spatial development policy of the Federal Government as well as for stakeholders of spatial development in the federal states and at regional and local level.

Project duration: February 2014 - April 2015

Background

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of the European economy. They account for more than 98 per cent of all enterprises and make up two thirds of all jobs in the private sector. The term "SMEs" encompasses quite different enterprises: micro-enterprises with a few employees as well as "seasoned" small- and medium-sized enterprises, craft businesses rooted in a specific locality but also internationally oriented world market leaders, so-called "hidden champions". In times of economic crisis, small and medium-sized enterprises have proved to be an important stabilising factor in the economic structure of many regions in Europe.

SMEs are addressed accordingly in different European measures and programmes such as the Structural Fund's mainstream programmes, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programmes or the Research Framework Programme. The transnational Interreg programmes essentially aim at integrated spatial development and territorial cohesion, and thus also at a balanced economic development in which SMEs have a major share. However, SMEs have not been the focus of the Interreg programmes during the last programming periods - neither as a target group nor as potential project stakeholders.

Objective

The project dealt with a topic-based evaluation of transnational cooperation projects covering the thematic field of "small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)". The aim was to make the results achieved so far in transnational cooperation projects more usable for the spatial development policy of the Federal Government as well as for stakeholders of spatial development in the federal states and at regional and local level. Selected Interreg B projects in the programming period 2007-2013 were investigated, in which SMEs were either involved as project partners or whose aim was to enhance the framework conditions for SMEs and to develop offers for this specific target group.

The contractor for the research project was the Berlin-based German Institute of Urban Affairs.

Contact

  • Brigitte Ahlke
    Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development
    Division RS 3 "European Spatial and Urban Development"
    Phone: +49 228 99401-2330
    E-Mail: brigitte.ahlke@bbr.bund.de

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