Met steun van het Europees Fonds voor Regionale Ontwikkeling


Language and cultural policies as key elements in the international competitiveness of SMEs


Studies by the European Commission show that language and cultural barriers significantly impede business transactions. European companies are thus missing out on important opportunities. The SIMILAR project was developed as a result of this observation and field surveys undertaken by our team in recent years. Since 2019, the project has been funded by the INTERREG France-Wallonie-Vlaanderen programme.


The objective of the project is to advise SMEs from different strategic sectors, particularly the food industry, in order to help them develop an effective linguistic and cultural strategy to better cope with the difficulties they face when dealing with transactions or when they conduct their activities across the (linguistic) border. In addition, the project aims to facilitate the development of multilingual and intercultural competences of SME employees, by providing them, free of charge, with innovative tools, tailor-made training, and networking activities. Finally, the research work of the team members will be showcased at several events and through publications. Students will also be able to benefit from work experience and employment opportunities, which will assist in the analysis of field surveys.

Geographical areas concerned:

This interdisciplinary and international collaboration is for any interested company located within the cross-border region, as defined by the INTERREG programme, in Hauts-de-France, Flanders and Wallonia. Click here to find out more about this region:


This European project is coordinated by Hogent in collaboration with the University of Lille, the University of Mons and Syntra West. It has been approved by the cross-border cooperation programme Interreg V-France-Wallonie-Vlaanderen and has also received funding from the Province of East Flanders.

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  • HOGENT (BE, projectleider)
  • Université de Lille (FR)
  • Université de Mons (BE)
  • Syntra West (BE)

Associated partners

  • Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de la région Hauts-de-France (FR)
  • Pôle emploi Hauts-de-France (FR)
  • Le FOREM (BE)
  • Agence Wallonne à l’Exportation et aux Investissements étrangers (BE)
  • Provinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij West-Vlaanderen (BE)
  • UNIZO Internationaal (BE)
Want to know more about SIMILAR?

Please contact our expert Pablo Decock via
+32 (0)9 243 22 49

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