The background of the idea
The entrepreneurship has a leading role for the growth in EU. According to Eurostat data, in 2012, the number of the registered enterprises in the EU exceeds 25 million. The index of the start-ups is about 10% of the number of the active ones and the same applies for the “dying” ones. The index of the launched in 2009 SMEs and survived within 1 year is about 81%, while the launched in 2005 and survived within 5 years is only about 46%. One of the successful approaches for survival, development and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises is the implementation of an “open business model” and working with an ecosystem of partners’ business networks.
Along with it, the youth unemployment is growing and the employment opportunities for adults over 50’s is decreasing.
Thus, an insufficient supply of skilled personnel may act as a severe impediment to the development of SMEs given the relatively strong position that their larger competitors have on the labour market. A particularly important resource for the development of the SME sector is entrepreneurial skills along with a large number of well qualified people that are willing and able to set up their own firm. Hence, workforce education can be a main element of a policy that aims at promoting SMEs and entrepreneurship.
Studies of the European Commission, a number of projects and approximately ten years of experience of the School of Business competences in the field of training of adults in the period 2005-2015 outline the needs of business competencies needed by the labor market, including economic, technological, linguistic and social skills.
In this sense, the project will identify those business competences such as:
• the necessary minimum of financial knowledge and skills for non-financial experts;
• the knowledge and skills for commercial law for the management of the legal and regulatory risks and the risks related to business contracts;
• the design and creation of a sustainable and innovative business models as well as understanding of the competitive business models;
• the development of business and investment plans, the required minimum of marketing and commercial competences with relevant focus on SMEs;
• presentation of the enterprise and online marketing, effective and applicable methods for B2B sales and sales of innovative solutions;
• leadership skills;
• knowledge of the recognized European and world standards and best practices for project management and management of the routine production activities – both in the material production (JIT, Kanban, Lean Manufacturing, etc.) and in the IT and the service sectors (PRINCE2 , AGILE, ITIL, ISO 20000, ISO 9001, etc.).
The obvious conclusion is that millions of people across the EU are willing to take the risk and start a new business, but are unable to build a sustainable business model to monetize their technical expertise, mainly due to the lack of appropriate business competencies for the development and survival.
For all these people who have taken the risk to start a business or working for the most common sector – micro, small and medium enterprises, it is impossible long-term interruption of their business activities in order to supplement their competencies. For the unemployed, especially young people and those at the end of their active age, it is a problem to finance a good business training, as well as the lack of VET organizations offering, relevant to the needs professional competencies notably for small villages. Therefore, the only available access for them seems to be training through the modern ICT.
Today, most people in the EU, including the young people, have a broadband mobile or fixed internet access and a wide range of mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, laptops, traditional desktop computers, smart TVs, etc. The availability of these facilities creates conditions for the delivery of educational content and training opportunities anywhere at any time. If it is appropriately designed, the educational content could be used at the workplace, on public transport or at home.
The partnership believes, that with the help of this project, it is possible to solve a part of these problems through an innovative way – building an open business model of long term cooperation between educational and business organizations, using the opportunities of the mobile information and communication technologies, creating a freely available application and an open standard for the development and implementation of educational content on modern mobile devices.
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