Title Operation Development for Europe's SME Support Agencies
Project Number 134238-LLP-1-2007-1-UK-GRUNDTVIG-GMP
Project Type Other EU-Projects
Individual Participation Not possible
Country UK-United Kingdom
The aim of the project is to improve the performance of SMEs by encouraging greater participation in learning by SME managers. Research shows that the major barrier to SME manager participation in formal learning is their perception that it is not relevant to their needs, and that training needs to be developed which is tailored to them. This training, however, needs to be quality assured, if real value is to be added to SMEs in order to drive real competitive advantage. But such quality assurance, to be really effective, needs to cover the entire range of support that SMEs receive from publicly funded bodies.
The project will therefore analyse the training and other services provided to SMEs in 5 partner countries, and develop a quality framework and quality assurance process to cover both (i) the competencies required by trainers, advisers and coaches who provide individual support to SMEs plus (ii) the standards of service which are required of local SME support centres and the ways in which they engage with SMEs and develop products and services to support them.
Once the quality framework has been developed, partners will develop and trial a range of training materials, both (a) for the local SME support centres and their trainers/advisers/coaches and (b) for teams of advisers who will work with them to help them reach the quality standards and assessors who will formally assess the extent to which they do, and where possible, grant them a certified status.
Once these products have been rigorously tested and refined, the partners will develop promotional materials to disseminate the standards and training materials more widely within Europe. They will also develop a franchising pack for organisations wishing to utilise this intellectual property once the project is completed.
2 of the partners are national SME support agencies and the remaining 2 are regional support agencies.