The importance of Cross-Border Cooperation Projects in fostering internationalization processes: the case of Interreg projects

Cross-border cooperation assumes a highly relevant role in the context of regional and national development, corresponding clearly and directly to one of the strategies envisaged by the European Commission. This strategy fosters territorial cohesion between regions and their people, strengthening neighborhood ties, motivating the realization of joint projects, favoring the obtaining and sharing of knowledge and the dissemination and exchange of good practices. These factors come together in the access to community funding, especially dedicated to the blurring of borders, to mutual knowledge between territorial agents, and to the development of projects that mitigate or overcome context costs and promote the social and economic progress of cross-border regions.

When we talk about this type of initiatives, it is inevitable not to mention Interreg, a European Union program that aims to encourage territorial cooperation between cross-border regions. This project celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2020. It is a program based on cohesion policies and offers a funding framework for the implementation of joint actions and policy exchanges between national, regional and local actors from different member states.


The overall goal of European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) is to promote harmonious economic, social and territorial development throughout the European territory.


In many of these projects, an approach is also adopted which aims to bring together smaller companies (SMEs) or start-ups, with companies already established in a given market or field of operations (Booster companies) so that, in this way, companies can contact larger companies, learn about their needs and absorb best practices for international expansion. An example of this type of work is precisely the CoLogistics Business Accelerator (CBA), an initiative inserted in the CoLogistics project, which has as its main goal the introduction in the regional market of Galicia and Northern Portugal of at least 20 entrepreneurial initiatives related to the logistics and technology sector. Market Access has actively participated in the implementation of this project, in particular, supporting one of the Portuguese partners of this cross-border project, in this case, the Municipality of Vila Nova de Famalicão.

Like this one there are many other programs that support companies that wish to participate in this type of projects. In this sense it is imperative to alert the business community to the existence of this type of projects and funding opportunities, contributing to the elimination of some of the main barriers in access to international markets. It is important to promote actions to disseminate these opportunities to the largest number of companies, so that they can benefit from this support and enhance their growth, the growth of their business sectors and, ultimately, the very growth of their region.





Luís Leal

International Business Consultant 

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