The Rural Innovation and Business Systems (RIBS) project will specifically help SMEs in rural regions of Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Sweden and Finland to address the effects of the economic downturn and strengthen their competitiveness and growth potential. Based on the needs analysis of the SMEs and the business support community in the target regions, RIBS will develop Business Growth Programmes (RIBS products) in four main areas: SME Growth, SME Internationalization, Entrepreneurship, and Rural Clustering. RIBS will facilitate rural cluster development through adopting an explicitly cross-sectoral approach.
The RIBS work programme combines leading innovation system research and knowledge and the accumulated expertise of practitioners in the field of SME support. RIBS will develop four new business support products that have been tested with 120 SMEs and refined through feedback from the SMEs and independent experts. Learning will be captured and disseminated through a new collaborative web platform.