Rationale of the training course
The focus of this course is on creating and managing multi-stakeholder processes that take place in the local and regional urban economy. Regions and localities are faced with two mayor trends in opposite directions: internationalisation and decentralisation. Internationalisation exacerbates the interactions between the global and the local levels but operates selectively. It includes only those actors that participate in networks in which competitiveness drives constant transformations and restructuring. Decentralisation is a means to coping with complexity and a reaction to growing demands for greater responsiveness and sustainability by citizens, clients and consumers. The two trends have changed how the multiple stakeholders relate to each other in the local and regional economy. Competition and cooperation are blended in the links between firms, between firms and state and non-state actors. The central concern for the governance of sustainable local economic development is to create synergies between the policies and interventions of business, state and non-state or civic actors. These come together around specific opportunities for local economic development for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The programme consists of three in-class modules and an individual study
Module 1: Introduction
In this module, the concept of Local Economic Development (LED) is introduced and its main theories are discussed. Focus on theories of systemic and territorial competitiveness; the role of institutions in economic development; Multi-stakeholder economic development: business system and embedding of geographical production networks.
Module 2: Small Enterprise Development
The module focuses on the role of small and medium-sized enterprises, their role in the local economy and the constraints in their development. A distinction is made between enterprises, formal or informal, with growth potential and informal businesses that are survival oriented. The module focuses on strategies that support enterprise development: entrepreneurship development, incubator and innovation systems
Module 3: Clusters and value chain analysis
This module focuses on the one hand on the local organisation of small enterprises in clusters and the multi-stakeholder initiatives that can increase their efficiency and innovation capability. On the other hand, it examines the way in which small enterprises are inserted in external production networks or value chains and elaborates on multi-stakeholder interventions to strengthen their positioning in these chains.
By the end of the programme, participants will have increased knowledge about SMEs and their role in the local economy. Participants will also be able to analyse the local economy and value chains in which local enterprise agglomerations and clusters are inserted and analyse policies and develop instruments that support local businesses.
The course will be offered in collaboration with the International Institute for Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague. ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment. Established in 1952 as the International Institute of Social Studies by Dutch universities and the Netherlands Ministry of Education it does research, teaching and public service in the field of development studies and international cooperation.
The course will be a blend of lectures, expert’s seminars, excursions/field visits and group exercises presenting international (best) practices and knowledge.
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