Title European Communication of Enterprises
Project Number 142921-LLP-1-2008-1-CZ-LEONARDO-LMP
Project Type Development of Innovation
Country EU-Centralised Projects
The overall project objective is to contribute to SMEs’ development towards a more innovative culture suited to assist their development/expansion abroad. In addition, the project aims to increase creativity in SMEs expansion approaches in order to better face rapid market changes at home and abroad.
To contribute to the development of effective co-operation between different public and private sector organisations involved in supporting SMEs including: Enterprise; 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 of the SMEs (the tools will be user-friendly and supported by new communication technologies)
To promote equal opportunities between men and women in SMEs within the project research.
European SMEs experienced disadvantages following from their size and economic situation. Their access to information, consultancy, special training, capital and opportunities to enter foreign markets is lower then other categories of enterprises. SMEs are late adopters of web-based and ICT instruments and this is a barrier for benefits of new technologies, especially those connected to marketing and communication activities. Critical areas of SMEs are: high costs, insufficient competences/attitudes in activities of marketing/communication, insufficient rewards in the short-time, and insufficient opportunities of lifelong learning. Their main needs are: (1) to identify and use information; (2) to have a direct control over opportunities of growth and learning; and (3) to acquire the management capacity to promote business, especially in foreign Countries.
The aim of this project is to develop two innovative web-based instruments of training and guidance to enable entrepreneurs of SMEs to evaluate their own export attitude and help them to commercialize products in EU Countries. In particular, the first innovative web-based instrument will be a descriptive instrument providing 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. The second innovative web-based instrument will be an operative instrument aiming to develop foreign marketing plans in target Countries. This instrument will give entrepreneurs the access to a databases containing useful marketing information (e.g. benchmarking marketing plans, 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 the opportunity to develop foreign marketing plans according to local uses. Both innovative web-based instruments will be available in the reserved area of the project website. Web-based user-friendly guides will be also available in CS, IT, EN, FR, LV to help entrepreneurs of SMEs to get used to the innovative instruments.
The development of the project’s products, i.e. project website, innovative web-based instruments, web-based user-friendly guides will involve 7 project partners from 5 Countries (Czech Republic, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Latvia) and a panel of 60 SMEs from Czech Republic, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Latvia who will be testing the two innovative web-based instruments of training and guidance for a 3 months experimentation phase. Feedback will be collected from this experimentation phase in order to adapt and produce localized versions (CZ, IT, EN, FR, LV) of both innovative web-based instruments.
The dissemination and exploitation of the project’s products and results will be at local, regional, national and EU level. A sectoral level of dissemination will be also ensured among SMEs of 3 sectors: advertising, not high-tech products sector, and consulting sector. A Toolkit (DVD and paper version user-guide) containing the descriptive innovative instrument and the marketing database will be produced in 1000 copies in 5 languages (CS, IT, EN, FR, LV) to help disseminating the project’s products. Active dissemination will be also ensured in other Countries not included into the project partnerships (i.e. BG, ES, DE, PL, RO, PT) by the project’s silent partner EURelations EEIG.
Expected impacts in the project’s participating Countries are: reinforcement of SMEs commitment to innovation, investment in modern technologies and integration of communication into business strategies, improvement of effective collaborations, and increased attitude to lifelong learning. It is expected that the innovative web-based instruments will be used as a means for driving the growth of SMEs and building competences to effectively promote products in EU Countries. The project action will help entrepreneurs to acquire new competences connected to innovation, will help the development of innovative contents and applications, and will help SMEs to grow up in terms of foreign business opportunities. It will help entrepreneurs to identify and use information, have a direct control over opportunities of growth and learning, acquire management capacities to promote business, and increasing the attitude to lifelong learning in the workplace. Another anticipated impact is also the willingness of other Countries to adopt the innovative web-based instruments since they will be commercialized in the reserved area of the project website after the completion of the project.
Key terms: Internationalization of SMEs, promotion of competitiveness, growth of entrepreneurs’ spirit, development of innovative web-based instruments of training and guidance, marketing plans, lifelong learning of entrepreneurs, development of competences and new skills, intercultural dialog.
The creation of the single European Market, with about 500 million consumers, represents a source of enormous opportunities for SMEs. However, many obstacles exist for SMEs wanting to take advantage of these opportunities, mainly due to the differences between how Member States markets’ operate.
The European Union has planned and implemented a wide range of initiatives to reduce or eliminate these external obstacles, as well as aiming to improve the general situation for SMEs. However, these results are still in the early stages of development and have not yet been transferred to practical interventions for SMEs.
Entrepreneurs often have aspirations to expand their business activities beyond the limits of their regional/national area in order to successfully grow their business. Often this is undertaken with some level of apprehension by SMEs, predominantly due to the presence of restrictive factors such as:
Limited economic resources available for SMEs to expand abroad;
Uncertainty of their ability to compete in a wider and potentially more aggressive market;
Inadequate management skills for a mature approach towards markets outside their nation or, in many cases, outside their region;
Unsuitable organisational structure/processes in place for expansion;
Difficulties for SMEs in accessing qualified assistance for development in foreign countries;
European Communication of Enterprises (EU.COM.EN) offers a positive contribution to help SMEs counteract the above factors through the development of systems to foster and support the entrepreneurial growth of SMEs to be better placed to compete in the European single market.
EU.COM.EN’s aim is to develop practical and multidisciplinary tools for SMEs in addition to providing support for smaller businesses to be able to meet their aspirations to operate beyond national boundaries. The approach of the project focuses on developing one specific and crucial part of any expansion plan: the communication and promotion methods used by SMEs to achieve success in foreign markets.
Open and distance learning
Other Service Activities
Information and Communication
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
open and distance learning
material for open learning
-Project website ( www.eucomen.eu )
-Brochure in EN-IT-CZ-FR-LV languages
-Newsletters ( at least 10 in EN-IT-CZ-FR-LV languages
-Summary of research of data
-Descriptive innovative web-based instrument of training and guidance
-Operative innovative web-based instrument of training and guidance
-Web-based user-friendly guide for the descriptive innovative web-based instrument of training and guidance
-Web-based user-friendly guide for the operative innovative web-based instrument of training and guidance
-Toolkit (DVD and paper version user guide) of the descriptive innovative web-based instrument of training and guidance and the marketing database
-Conferences(May 2009 LV – September 2009 UK – January 2010 FR – June 2010 IT – September 2010 CZ )
-Meetings (Kick-off meeting October 2008 IT – Project committee meeting January 2009 CZ – May 2009 LV -September 2009 UK – January 2010 FR – June 2010 IT )
-Dissemination and exploitation workshop (Brussels- April 2010)