This article claims that traditional supply of public support programmes for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in remote locations fails to achieve its objective: it is not met by 'hidden' demand. An experiment was conducted in SMEs that did not use available consultancy programmes in three remote regions in the state of Ceara in Brazil: a consultant was sent to each of them on a diagnosis mission. The results indicate that there is a 'hidden demand', in the sense that most of the enterprises need consultancy, but do not apply for the available services, and that they are generally incorrect in their assessments of the problems they face and how the issues identified should be prioritized. After benefiting from short-term diagnostic consultancy, they are better able to evaluate problems and, consequently, use available professional consultancy services more efficiently.
- Public policy
- Regional development