Title European Communication of Enterprises
Project Number 142921-LLP-1-2008-1-CZ-LEONARDO-LMP
Product Final Report -Public part
Title Final Report -Public part
Product Type others
Marketing Text This report describes the work and results of the consortium managing the project European Communication of Enterprises (EUCOMEN). The overall aim of the project was to offer a contribution to entrepreneurial growth by actively supporting SMEs in their efforts towards internationalization with a more convinced and dynamic approach to the competition in the new European market.
The overall aim of the EUCOMEN project was to contribute to SMEs’ development towards a more innovative culture suited to assist their development/expansion abroad. In addition, the project aimed to increase creativity in SMEs expansion approaches in order to better face rapid market changes at home and abroad.
The specific objectives of the project were as follows:
to contribute to the development of effective co-operation between different public and private sector organisations involved in supporting SMEs including: Enterprises; Universities; Research Units; Financial organisations; Consultancy firms; Education and Training organisations; Local, National and European Institutions;
to contribute to the development of entrepreneurial competences;
to contribute to the development of a competitive spirit amongst SMEs, reducing fear of exporting/expanding to foreign markets with the help of specific and complete information;
to improve the effectiveness of the available training and consulting activities for SMEs looking to develop their business with foreign markets;
to develop practical support tools containing relevant information, orientation and training for the SMEs (the tools will be user-friendly and supported by new communication technologies);
to promote equal opportunities between men and women in SMEs.
This specific objectives were planned to be reached through the following main work steps:
research of data
development of web based instruments
experimentation of instruments among the 60 SMEs belonging to the project Panel list.
Closely related with these steps were all the very important activities of dissemination and exploitation of the project products and results.
SMEs of the project targeting sectors (communication and advertising, not high-tech products sector, and consulting sector) aimed at starting international business. Entrepreneurs which either haven’t had any experience of international business activities or which have experienced international business but don’t have reached the expected results;
SMEs of other sectors interested in the innovative web-based instruments: it is envisaged that the results of this project would be particularly interesting to all SMEs working in any field;
local institutions, trade associations, local chambers of commerce, centers of local research and development, universities. This group includes anybody who is responsible for SMEs internationaliziation and local economic development;
teachers, business consultants: anyone interested in SMEs training and development;
all stakeholders which will benefit of the dissemination and exploitation phases to take contacts to establish further forms of interaction/collaboration;
policy makers: this includes policy makers at every level from European administration down to individual educational institutions which are in a position to make decisions as to policy priorities regarding VET and regarding peer production systems
The EUCOMEN project has been successful in reaching all these groups and all have familiarised with the Eucomen results. This has been possible thanks to the partners that have set up many dissemination and exploitation activities.
Active dissemination has also been ensured in other Countries, not directly interested by the project, by the project’s silent partner: EURelations EEIG (i.e. BG, ES, DE, PL, RO, PT).
The major achievement and results of the project:
The project website
The website includes a general area with news and information about the project (e.g. description of the project and of the partners, studies and researches, news, newsletters, SMEs panel description, photo gallery, links and contacts) and a reserved area for partners and registered entrepreneurs. The two web-based tools are only in the reserved part of the website, together with an updated project work plan.
The contact link of the general area is useful both for those who want more information about the project and both for the SMEs that want to register and ask the authorization to use the web-based tools.
Summary of Research
Each partner has produced a national research of data. In order to realize the project goals, specific methods and rules have been elaborated by the WP Leader that gave to partners all hints on how to proceed. The areas of investigation had concern: aspects of the daily life in relationship to the customs and traditions, to the commerce, to the education, to the politics, to the sport and to the specific area of the communication and promotion of the productive and commercial activities of the companies. A particular investigation concerned social and cultural aspects in purpose to underline the "common sense of the value" set to expressions (word – image - colours) of usual use, conducted on a preconstituted pilot panel representative of the universe of reference. Results acquired from inspections on Internet, publications, official data base and interview by team partners have been collected in five questionnaires. The results were later assessed, compared and evaluated - and are listed in a Summary of research that can be downloaded from the project website at http://www.eucomen.eu/Studi.aspx, in the studies and research area.
EUCONBUS web-based tool
the first of the two web based instruments of training and guidance provides information related to EU Countries, especially with references to uses/traditions, straightness/weakness of such Countries (Czech Republic, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Latvia) to help defining both penetration and marketing/communication factors. EuConBus is concretely a pedagogical tool for education and training which supports the creation and development of marketing plans. Differing to other similar tools, EuConBus provides a guided process on how to create marketing plans following a progressive and logical step-by-step development, depending also on the experience level of the users. EUCOMEN’s objective is to build a tool composed of both useful information and systems of practical help, in order to support the creation and implementation of a marketing plan. In addition, we have included well-established concepts and documents relating to existing marketing literature, in order to give added value to the project. We wanted to publish, in agreement with external experts, a part which included existing academic and theoretical knowledge in order to support the user’s understanding of the concepts involved in marketing in general.The tool is available on CD and on the restricted area of the EU.CO.MEN project website www.eucomen.eu, where it is accessible asking login and a password.
The instrument is available in all partners’ languages: Czech, French, English, Italian and Latvian.
EUM@RKET web-based tool
the second, more operative, innovative web-based instrument of training and guidance aiming to develop foreign marketing plans in targeted Countries. This instrument will give entrepreneurs the possibility to put into relation their inserted data with all data available in the project database. The database contains useful marketing information (e.g. best/bad marketing actions of other firms and information on how to avoid languages mistakes and/or misunderstanding connected to differences in the languages/cultures) and gives the opportunity to develop foreign marketing plans according to local uses. The tool realizes a benchmarking between the created marketing plan and all the indicators contained in the database ( e.g. economic ratios, countries development indicators, sector indicators, key performance and marketing indicators, countries habits, customs and idioms). Entrepreneurs will be able to develop a marketing plan, have immediately an evaluation and learn on tools suggestions and remarks.
EUM@rket is an original product, not-existing in the large European catalogue of formal and informal training dedicated to SMEs and to workers on the labour place.
The tool is available in all partners’ languages: Czech, French, English, Italian and Latvian and will be supported by web-based user-friendly guides also available in CZ, IT, EN, FR, LV to help entrepreneurs to used to the innovative instruments
The two tools, better improved thanks to the qualitative feedback received by the enterprises participating to experimentation, were available, during the project lifetime, only for the partners and the registered enterprises belonging to the panel experimentation list. Now, after the end of the project, project tools are available also for all those entrepreneurs who request a licence to use it. The use of the tools will promote competitiveness by increasing the entrepreneurs’ attitude and competences to effectively promote their own products/services in foreign Countries. These innovative web-based instruments of training and guidance will help understanding local uses and traditions, defining effective and localized foreign strategies of marketing/communication from the analysis of straightness and weakness of participating target Countries.
A 10 months of experimentation
A 10 months of experimentation during which the enterprises of the panel list used the project products, expressed their difiicolties and perplexities and allowed the partnership to rectify and to enrich the products in order to be more usefull in daily job uses.
At the end of this activity, in order to better know the quality of the results of the experimentation phase, it was realized a Best Pitch Business between the enterprises who participated to the experimentation. The Best Pitch Business took place during the final Conference of Praga where various enterprises introduced and explained their marketing hypothesis plan realized through the EUM@rket tool. A specific commission rewarded the enterprises that produced the best marketing plans.
Wide valorisation activity
A wide valorisation activity with:
B2B workshops and matching meetings. The partnership has organized five B2B meetings for one-to-one meetings between local and foreign SMEs belonging to the Panel test list. This were very matchmaking and networking events where entrepreneurs, coming from the various countries, had the opportunity to talk and catch business opportunities.
Conferences and partnership meetings. Five public transnational conferences and technical Workshops have been organized in Latvia, United Kingdom, French, Italy and Czech Republic. The conferences seen the presences of all partners, of local and foreign entrepreneurs and of representatives of local public Authorities, local public bodies, institutions, universities, education systems, and development agencies.
One International Workshop in Brussels. This international Workshop was very innovative because had the great value to put around the same table and let communicate toghether: Eacea Agency, DG Research, Foreign and local enterprises, Foreign and local authorities and National and European networks. The discussion gave to the project a very big added value.
Eight partnership meetings organized during the project lifetime.
Twelve newsletters in five different languages.
Area of application
During the project, the consortium has concentrated its work on the following categories of activities:
to come to a common understanding between partners of the European situation regarding SMEs. The Union supports a wide range of policies to ensure SMEs benefit from a favourable business environment. The EU has thus firmly placed the needs of SMEs at the heart of the Lisbon Growth and Jobs Strategy, notably since 2005 with the use of the partnership approach, which has achieved tangible results. The Small Business Act for Europe, adopted in June 2008, aims to improve the overall approach to entrepreneurship, to irreversibly anchor the "Think Small first" principle in policy making from regulation to public service, and to promote SMEs' growth by helping them tackle the remaining problems which hamper their development. EU’s policy are trying to translate the vision of the EU Heads of State and Government of 2000 into reality - making the EU a world-class environment for SMEs. But the national and local environments in which SMEs operate are very different and so is the nature of SMEs themselves (including crafts, micro-enterprises, family owned or social economy enterprises). Policies addressing the needs of SMEs therefore need to fully recognise this diversity and fully respect the principle of subsidiarity;
to work on an analysis of the national situation in partners’ countries regarding SMEs. This analysis has been done with the support, in nearly all countries, of conference, meeting and focus group involving different categories of actors, mainly representatives of higher education institutions, public bodies, SMEs, consultants, etc.
to make a transversal analysis of the current situation about advertisement and communication of SMEs in the 5 countries participating in the project and identify transversal common issues arising from this analysis.
Our methodological strategy in this project was to involve all the partners at the same level. So we have based our common work on exchanges by emails and by meetings.
We have considered three types of meetings:
• conferences organized for target groups and local stakeholders;
• partnership meetings to discuss updates on the workplan, analyze partner problem and needs and take common solutions. After each meeting, detailed minutes are provided to partners, including short feedbacks on discussions and on the work done by each partner.
• workshops with the aim to disseminate and exploit the project’s products and results. At the workshops participate all the SMEs belonging to the local partner panel list together with at least two representatives of SMEs per each participating Country.
The workshops also seen the participation of business and development experts and of all those engaged with other projects connected to SMEs innovation
• B2B matching
to help entrepreneurs catch concrete opportunities.
The evaluation strategy
Through a call for tender in all partners’ countries, it has been selected an Independent expert for evaluation and monitoring.
The external evaluator carried out the following activities:
- organized and elaborated a presentation of all the activities of evaluation and monitoring, giving details both of all indicators planned by the project and both of the indicators not planned but necessary to reach the maximum efficiency of all activities;
- Prepared, sended and administered the necessary questionnaires and all the other tools of evaluating and monitoring;
- Gathered and elaborated the results of the questionnaires and of all the other tools of evaluating and monitoring.
After each event, the partners collected specific, filled in, evaluation forms and consigned them to the evaluator.
In addiction, the partners provided a specific internal evaluation for the dissemination and exploitation activity and for tools experimentation.
The dissemination and exploitation strategy
Dissemination activities of the EUCOMEN Project have been particularly fruitful, both in terms of quality and quantity (for example: all “products” provided have been delivered). All partners have shared the strategy of the project and have developed the actions described in the DISSEMINATION Workpackage of the application form and have updated them regurlarly. Each partner has promoted the possibility to interact with (and among) long-term beneficiaries, pointing out the possibility to share knowledge and know-how, promoting a collaborative environment for SMEs, and increasing the internationalization of SMEs in the European marketplace. In the long term and after the completion of the project it is expected that those activities will promote actions to help the international cooperation and the building of a new attitude to the European Community. The dissemination and exploitation of the project’s products and results has been at local, regional, national and EU level. A Toolkit (DVD with EuConBus and a user-guide paper version) containing the descriptive innovative instrument, has been produced in 1800 copies in 5 languages (CZ, IT, EN, FR, LV) to help disseminating the project’s products. Through the dissemination and exploitation activity target groups have understood that the instruments have been created to help them to solve their competence and commercial needs. They are based on learning innovative systems, very effective and have a high quality profile. This activity has been in tightened connection with the other planned activities of the project, e.g. conferences, meetings, bilateral meetings, B2B, newsletters. Package leaders were the Abruzzo Europe Foundation (Italy) and INOVA Conultancy ltd (United Kingdom). These partners have a consolidated experience in communication, dissemination and exploitation activities done in several national and international projects. All activities of dissemination and exploitation had and added value support thanks to the collaboration with EURelations EEIG, a silent partner with members covering nearly all Europe (BG, ES, DE, CZ, FR, IT, PL, RO, PT, UK).
Product Languages English