46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
Networks of firms producing and selling regional products to domestic and foreign markets are influencing the direction and options of local development. Regional products are embedded in historical tradition and geographic, cultural and social specificity. Most of the local activities are performed by clustered SME's in well defined geographical areas. To study the mechanisms and factors which favour spontaneous development in specific areas and make SME's competitive through cluster development we used case study methodology. An evolutionary perspective of "Casa Matias" and "Casa dos Queijos", two portuguese SME's, is expected to illustrate which key factors triggered the firm's cheese business and, simultaneously, examine organisational practices with particular emphasis on cluster formation and internationalisation process. From this analysis we expected to conceptualise a specific policy scheme to help developing spontaneous entrepreneurship, cooperation between clustered SME's and local collective development.