Navigation path

Al-Invest Regional Aid Programme

A European Commission (EC) initiative to support the internationalisation of Latin American SMEs

What is the AL-INVEST Programme?

Al-Invest is an economic co-operation programme that aims to support the internationalisation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Latin America, in collaboration with their European partners in order to contribute to reinforce social cohesion in the region.

By directly funding projects for organisations that represent and promote private sector development (PSD), such as Chambers of Commerce, Trade Associations, Export-Promotion Agencies, etc.), the Al-Invest Programme facilitates the process of internationalisation of LA SMEs.


The fourth phase of the AL-INVEST (2009-2012) is implemented through 3 groups of business organisations (consortia) belonging to three distinct geographical areas of Latin America and whose projects (Call for proposals EuropeAid/127035/C/ACT/Multi) were awarded grants by the European Commission.


Consortium Leader

Project Title

Place of implementation

Duration (in months)

 Total cost (Euros)

EC contribution as a percentage of the total cost   


Nacional Financiera SNC


"The Internationalisation of SMEs from Central America, Mexico and Cuba as an engine of economic development"

Central America, Mexico and Cuba 

48 months

17.494.289 €



Cámara de Comercio, Servicios y Turismo de Santa Cruz


"Institutional Co-ordination for the Internationalisation of SMEs from the Andean Community"

Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

36 months

13.750.000 €



Confederaçao Nacional da Indústria


"Internationalisation and competitiveness of SMEs in MERCOSUR, Chile and Venezuela for a sustainable development"

Mercosur, Chile and Venezuela

48 months

18.750.000 €


The three groups of organisations are supported through horizontal services performed by a coordination unit, whose functions and responsibilities are set out in the terms of reference of the Call for Tender EuropeAid/126875/C/SER/MULTI.

Overall, the EC contribution to the programme amounts to 50 million Euro (80 % of the total cost).


AL-INVEST history in brief

The Al-Invest Programme began with a 2-year pilot phase in 1994. The success of the first 'edition' led to the approval of three subsequent programmes, as shown below:

Al-Invest Phase I – 1995-1999

Al-Invest Phase II – 1999-2004

Al-Invest Phase III – 2004-2007

The Programme has noticeably matured over these years and has witnessed an important process of consolidation and increased ownership.

Funded activities

Initially, the Al-Invest Programme funded "business meetings" almost exclusively. However, in recent phases, the scope for funding has diversified considerably to include institutional building activities for the network operators and training and technical assistance for the SMEs, among other types of tools, constitute and integral approach to assisting SMEs.


During the first three phases, more than 1,000 activities have been implemented, in more than 25 commercial sectors; agro-industry, environment and the telecommunications sectors have been some of the most supported sectors.

Over 87,000 SMEs have participated in Al-Invest projects.

The European Commission (EC) has committed a total of €144 million in all phases which has generated over €500 million worth of intra-regional trade and investment.

Now you may read the following documents:

AL-INVEST III External Evaluation Report pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] español (es)

AL-INVEST III Final Results (Eurochambres) pdf - 5 MB [5 MB] español (es)

Making trade work for development (DG Trade)


Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top