What is SME Cluster Growth?

We are an ERASMUS+ Knowledge Alliance project to empower SMEs in the engineering sector to grow and compete. Our project team is led by the University of Málaga, Spain and spans nine partners across seven European countries. It is an ambitious collaboration with higher education institutions (HEIs), future skills and business growth professionals and university-industry relationship experts to advance engineering SMEs’ capacities. We do this through five support areas, including: Mapping, Cluster Growth Councils, Learning, Consultancy and Facilities Sharing. 

Benefit From

SME CG - graphic 1

Who will benefit


Interested in using a cluster growth approach, tapping into new resources and building new strategic partnerships to increase their opportunities and innovation capacity.

Higher Education Institutions

That want to create new ways to collaborate and gain access to a reliable set of resources to improve their teaching practices and expand their offerings to student entrepreneurs.


e.g. Government organisations, students, business consultants who want a better understanding of the business ecosystem to develop solutions for real world problems.

Our Beneficiaries

Engineering SMEs will benefit by

  • Cluster approach to growth through new knowledge and skills, while receiving mentorship and expanding their networks through SME Cluster Growth Mobility and Training Programme not only within their engineering domain but across other engineering sub-sectors within the project.
  • Exploring new perspectives, business models and cooperation opportunities for growth
  • Tapping into regional and international business cluster resources to access strategies for growth and thus higher socioeconomic impact on the societies.
  • The opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from the best practices, multidisciplinary collaboration opportunities through the learning mobility programme, and participation through international events.
  • Cost-effective consultancy projects as students can help SMEs develop innovative solutions to their existing problems.
  • Exploring more strategic partnership opportunities with academia.

Higher Education Community will benefit by

  • Access to a reliable set of resources (case studies, skills needs analysis, workshop series, implementation toolkit, and self-assessment tool) to improve their teaching practices and expand their offerings to student entrepreneurs with cutting edge content.
  • New pathways for collaboration with businesses. Increased connectivity with SMEs from the engineering sector and across science parks/accelerators/incubators in partner locations will allow for new collaboration opportunities, e.g. student internships and joint research projects.
  • Introducing additional work-based learning and project-based learning methodologies to their classrooms to increase entrepreneurial skills and employability by engaging them with the SMEs growth challenges within consultancy schemes.
  • Gaining a better understanding of regional needs for growth scale-up ecosystem via close interactions with stakeholders during events, develop regional networks.
  • Strengthening external engagement and their role as regional leaders in fostering regional innovation ecosystems, shape internal structures and open doors for future collaboration.

Students will benefit by

  • Enhancing their employability and be better prepared for their entrepreneurial careers with improved competencies they will earn during their studies and matured business growth ecosystem in their regions.
  • Opportunities to develop solutions to a real problem of an SME and to get exposure to the world of practice.
  • Through the training modules, students will develop their entrepreneurial mindset and necessary transversal skills and attitudes.

Regional government/ intermediary organisation/ venture capitalists/business consultants and investors will benefit by

  • A better understanding of the business ecosystem in their regions, and thus make more informed decisions regarding the financial and infrastructure support they provide to growing businesses.
  • Access to a replicable growth stimulus programme and innovation-driven, outward-looking engineering ecosystem

Contact Us

Interested in participating in the project or want to learn more? Get in touch with us! We are always happy to hear from you.

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SME Cluster Growth Magazine

Issue #4

Welcome to the fourth edition of EMPOWER, the SME Cluster Growth project magazine. Throughout this issue, we will show you the latest activities and programmes developed within the framework of the SME Cluster Growth project, as well as some examples of business growth in which we analyse the keys to their success.