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Abstract

The Western Balkan region (WB) small and medium enterprises (SMEs) lag behind the EU-28 counterparts in their export activities. The positive influence of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) on local business support organisations and the local businesses is identified as a contributing factor to that improvement. To investigate the EEN's role in the export of the WB SMEs in the period 2014–2017, the authors used available statistical data on export from the WB countries. The survey was conducted in three phases, with the samples of 1,463, 222, and 12 companies. Analysed results of the EEN activities in the WB show that EEN had a positive influence on the firms’ performance and their international activities; 67% of supported firms increased their turnover, 62% increased their market share, and the EEN services had a positive impact on the jobs in 52% of the examined firms. The survey results about the expected and actual impact of the EEN services proved a positive impact of the Network on the five indicators: market improvement, cost savings, job creation or maintenance, quality improvement, and innovation. The paper contains important practical implications for the policymakers and the SME managers alike, and the implications mentioned above are generalisable.

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