SME’s and ECONOMIC GOWTH
SMEs have undisputed significance in driving Europe’s economic growth, accounting for 85% of new jobs and 66% of private sector employment. As such, the quality and relevance of the vocational entrepreneurship education provided for new and existing entrepreneurs plays a key role in achieving the 2020 goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
RISK OF CRISIS
However, both young and long-established companies are exposed to a constant risk of crisis. External (e.g. Covid 19, Brexit) or internal causes can be decisive: declining demand, delayed adjustments to the company structure and bad debts are just a few examples of problems. In many cases, a crisis can be overcome, and the existence of the company and the jobs associated with it secured by taking TIMELY countermeasures.
The real problem is not the crisis itself, but its early detection and the development of suitable counterstrategies and measures. Companies in advanced crisis phases can usually only react instead of acting. The later the crisis is recognised, the faster the scope for action decreases.
Research shows that SMEs neither have suitable Early Warning Systems nor are they able to develop suitable countermeasures on their own. Moreover, SMEs often have special characteristics preventing them from detecting and reacting on business crises: owner-centred, patriarchally organised, underfunded, cluster risks – to name but a few.
Our project objective is clear:
- to enable SME owner/manager to identify and analyse Early-Warning-Indicators for business crisis and to develop individual suitable measures to prevent / overcome the crisis
- to professionalise VET and other support structures and increase the impact of their services
- to increase the crisis resilience of start-ups by increasing the awareness for early-warning signals
- to provide policy makers with in up-to-date in-depth knowledge of early crisis indicators suitable to be adapted into future policies
To achieve our objectives, we will develop four outputs :
- Output 1: INTERNATIONAL EARLY WARNING SYSTEM FRAMEWORK – comprising an international study on early warning signals and systems as well as countermeasures for business crisis of SMEs and analysing their specific success factors
- Output 2: I-EAS-IT CURRICULUM AND Resources: Including a curriculum, learning objectives, lesson plans, assessment guides, and access to a variety of original teaching content in digital format. These free resources provide business advisor with a complete toolkit for teaching early stage intervention skills as part of business development programmes, in the classroom or in blended (digital) learning formats. The resources will also be published as OERs for self-learning on the knowledge platform
- Output 3: I-EAS-IT INTERACTIVE CRISIS ANALYSIS AND SOLUTION TOOLKIT: Based on the framework from Output 1, we will produce a tool for the in-depth analysis of specific corporate crises of SMEs. Based on this analysis, individual information/learning resources and solution approaches to overcome the corporate crisis will be proposed
- Output 4: I-EAS-IT KNOWLEDGE PLATFORM and OERs adapting the three previous outputs and supplemented with additional learning materials and relevant information, we will develop a fully self-directed learning course for SME owners to access directly.