Knowledge-based activities are at the basis of sustainable competitive advantage in today’s economy. Resource- and knowledge-based theorists claim that firms should focus on the creation and accumulation of knowledge-based competencies in order to yield long-term survival. For smes, this can be a difficult task as their characteristics often hamper the leverage of the required competencies. This paper focuses on the role strategic alliances can fulfil within the knowledge acquisition and learning processes of smes. The empirical findings indicate that only a limited number of smes is involved in strategic ‘knowledge-sharing’ alliances. Several entrepreneurs do not cooperate because they fear transferring their know-how and losing their competitive advantage. However, smes involvement in strategic alliances resulted in improved firm performance.