[ Summary ]
Implementing a strategy to boost economic competitiveness
Future studies on the economic competitiveness of rural areas will
focus on analysing “good practices” and “appropriate solutions” to
guide the activities of LEADER groups in the different types of
area, at least in three spheres: boosting the endogenous ability to
innovate, improving inter-institutional relations and consultation
mechanisms, and forging stronger links between local businesses and
a) With regard to boosting the endogenous innovation ability, the
questions to be analysed might include:
- How can the ability to innovate be enhanced by increasing
exchanges and cooperation between local entrepreneurs and by
boosting ‘direct’ learning processes (“learning by doing”, “learning
by using”, “learning by imitation”)?
- How is it possible to enhance local entrepreneurs’ ability to
choose technology, and their receptiveness to it (buying patents,
machinery, services), thereby introducing appropriate innovations
into local businesses?
- How can cooperation agreements and participation in networks
help to surmount the innovation handicaps caused by dispersed human
b) With regard to inter-institutional
relations and consultation:
- How can greater fluidity be fostered in relations between
business and the political/institutional system?
- How can public infrastructure investment and the needs of
local businesses be better coordinated?
- How can support be increased for an area’s new collective
players that emerge as a result of marketing, promotion and
- How can support be given to processes for matching the
financial provision to the needs of local businesses?
c) With regard to links with markets:
- How can the access of local products to national or even
international markets be facilitated?
- How can the marketing skills of local entrepreneurs be
- How can support be given to improving product quality in order
to prevent businesses from focusing too much on price-
- How can the image of local products be promoted and asserted
in a market that is going global?
Some of these questions relate to the acquisition of global
competitiveness, which is the subject of part five of this series.