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RDP project database

European Network for Supporting Entrepreneurship (ESCALE)


Together with non-LAG associations from France (AFIP, AFIP Normandie, CELAVAR) and Malta (Genista Foundation), 2 Portuguese LAGs promote business creation in rural areas as a pro-active response to the need to generate jobs and economic viability.



A variety of initiatives have emerged to support rural entrepreneurs with their projects. These involve often guidance & mentoring, through partnerships of associations, local cooperatives and/or quasi-public bodies. Assistance is offered at all stages of business creation, from concept to implementation and management, by way of resource centres, training and mentoring, thus aiming to encourage rural business initiatives as well as to provide access to training and employment.

Common Objectives

The project aims to promote sustainbale rural development by supporting the creation of new enterprises in rural areas by: 1) establishing a European network for encouraging rural entrepreneurs; 2) identifying and adapting methodologies for supporting rural entrepreneurship; 3) promoting the exchange of information and experience on approaches and ‘tools’ for supporting rural entrepreneurship.

Main Joint Activities

Joint activities of the partnership include: i) enquiring among investors their expectations from the European Network for Supporting Entrepreneurship; ii) capacity building of mentors through transnational exchange of practices and production of a common methodology that can be applied by all project participants; iii) supporting micro-enterprises in the participating areas who are willing to host visits, and; iv) piloting the exchange of entrepreneur-trainees between projects/enterprises.

Results and Transferability

In this project the partnership collectively constructed the framework and suggested practical ways to implement a European service for exchange of entrepreneurs, by (a) introducing the concept of mentoring as a specific approach for adding value to LEADER; (b) supporting the professional development of Portuguese/EU mentors with new knowledge, skills, tools and methodologies, and; (c) raising awareness of the importance of promoting entrepreneurship in rural areas and creating/consolidating efficient and effective mechanisms for promoting the creation and sustainable development of small-scale rural initiatives.

Lessons learnt

It was important to: i) find motivated partners with good working experience (and the ambition to do more!) of supporting and promoting rural entrepreneurship; ii) mobilize local strategic partnerships for the support and promotion of entrepreneurship, as well as the encouragement of local investment, and; c) be very proactive in involving other key players (e.g. governmental structures) in addition to the local ones.

Project location and other information

Baixo Alentejo, Basse Normandie and Malta

Total project cost (€)

377 932

EAFRD contribution (€)

160 000

National contribution (€)

40 000

Private contribution (€)

22 220

Other funding sources (€)

155 712

Contact name

Isabel Maria Martins Benedito


+351 286 328 471

Languages for contact

English, French, Portuguese

At a glance


Portugal, Malta, France

Number of Partners


Final beneficiary type

Local Action Group, Other

Budget range

€100 000 - €500 000

Start date:


End Date:


Theme / Measure:

• Implementing the LEADER Approach
• Co-operation projects
• 421. Implementing co-operation projects


Innovation, Skills acquisition, Cooperation, Training, Entrepreneurship

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