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Competitiveness and Innovation

- - Industrial Maps of Latin America and the Caribbean (MIALC)

Latin America and the Caribbean lack tools that allow seeing, at the level of the region, where the industry is concentrated and how it has been evolving over time. Such tools could feed decision-making processes and development plans with valuable and homogeneous information.

This project was organised in collaboration with the Fundación Observatorio PyMES in Buenos Aires and universities and Institutes of Statistics in 9 Latin American countries with a view to offer a graphic tool that could be used by local governments, Private sector organisations and other stakeholders such as Universities and Statistics Institutes, to visualise concentrations of industrial sectors with a view to benchmark their performance in time and detect potentialities for cooperation.

A prototype of online maps is accessible here                  

MIALC received additional funding from the Spanish State Secretariat for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America (SECIPI)


- - Competitive districts (Polos de Competitividad)

Competitiveness primarily arises from the organisation and interaction of economic actors in determined territories. With a view to addressing the loss of competitiveness that hampers the bi-regional economies, VENTURE engages with these local actors in order to identify and disseminate best practices and foster joint actions

This activity gathered specialists from a first series of 10 countries[1] in Latin America and the Caribbean and some 9 European regions and countries into a working group that – over a year - shared experience and best practices on building competitiveness and international alliances in their territories.

Their best practices, analyses and recommendations have been captured in a document setting potential steps for further territory-to-territory cooperation.

Polos was implemented with the Strategic Partner Lombardy Region and in cooperation with the EC mechanisms for the support of clusters, amongst them the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA). Polos also opened dialogue with clusters and competitive territories initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean such as the APLs in Brazil.

Altogether Polos involved some 40 professionals and close to a 100 clusters. 14 Clusters took part to the Business-to-Business event organised in the framework of the 2015 EU-CELAC Business Summit, in the EXPO 2015 in Milan, with the direct support of the Inter American Development Bank. See report here (Spanish only)


- - SMEs

SMEs are the largest population of companies in both regions. They provide a large amount of jobs and contribute to social inclusion. Their participation to the bi-regional competitiveness could however be reinforced by improvements in terms of productivity, innovation and inclusion into local and global value chains. To this end VENTURE has been working in two directions.

An analysis of role of SMEs, their challenges and opportunities in the development of the EU-LAC economy was made with its Strategic Partner ECLAC, resulting in a publication that can be downloaded from the website of the Foundation. This publication was disseminated in the 2015 EU-CELAC Business Summit.

VENTURE partners with the CERALE, a member of the Strategic Partner Institut des Amériques, to study the features of competitive Latin American “born bi-regional” SMEs that are naturally prone to work with Europe.

Initial research was conducted on a sample of 250 SMEs from the Competitive Districts and is being compiled. From this analysis of the “DNA” of SMEs VENTURE expects to start identifying the training needs of SMEs and how these could be catered for through specific programmes.


- - Innovation

Innovation is key to productivity and competitiveness. In addition to its cluster policies the EU has developed and regional strategy of Smart Specialisation (RIS3) of its territories in matters of innovation. This approach that combines natural industrial edges with channelled research and innovation is of high interest to Latin American and Caribbean countries where several initiatives are developing in this field.

With the support of DG REGIO of the European Commission, VENTURE has published a study that has mapped the potential for region-to-region cooperation in terms of smart specialisation, taking into account sector specific assets as well as compatible strategies. This study opens an untapped potential for territorial competitiveness and shall be used in the next steps of the Competitive Districts initiative.



[1] Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brasil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, México and Dominican Republic; Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Toscana, Cataluña, Galicia, Baden-Wurtenberg, Hamburg, Flanders and Latvia.