Accelerating Cross-Border Transaction of SME
Start date: Sep 1, 2015,
End date: Aug 31, 2017
SMEs are a vital for economic growth and employment, representing 99% of EU economy and generating more than 50% of jobs. SMEs’ full growth potential can only be realized in their integration in international value chains and participation to international markets. Many impediments still undermine the capacity of SMEs to strive internationally, as recognised by EU papers and strategies that all recognise the need for improved training solutions for SMEs in support of their internationalization:
“Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan-Reigniting Entrepreneurial Spirit”, EU Commission, 2013
“Identification of Future Skills Needs in Micro/Craft-Type Enterprises up to 2020” 2011, DG Enterprise
"VET for better skills growth and jobs" EU Commission
“Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes” EU Commission, 2012
Specifically, those papers identify in the following the most important training and capacity needs of SMEs to grow internationally:
--> low understanding of international markets and related growth opportunities
--> lack of managerial capacity to act as international players
--> insufficient operational skills to engage in cross-border transactions
Against this background, ACT-SME represents a timely and practical answer to those needs identified at EU level. The objective of ACT-SME is to contribute to the growth and competitiveness of SMEs by developing and deploying innovative and concrete training for SMEs to proactively engage in international markets and cross-border transactions.
ACT-SME includes 8 partners from 6 countries representing the various participants to SMEs’ internationalization process and VET systems: representatives of the target group both as association of SMEs and as international SMEs; public agencies devoted to support SMEs’ internationalization and development; training providers as well as the Third Sector (business associations and NGOs) engaged in promoting international business integration. The partners have the technical, operational and managerial capacity to carry out activities and produce relevant outputs.
Partners will carry out the following activities:
1. develop and operate the ACT-SME OER Platform
2. Carry out the SME Capacity Gap Assessment
3. Develop ACT-SME training format, content and material
4. Translate training content into 6 languages
5. Deploy the ACT-SME Training to test and validate it with 250 SMEs
6. Develop guidelines and the ACT-SME Tool Box for EU VET providers and full scale adoption of the ACT-SME training
ACT-SME is based on a practical operational methodology of gradual staged approach of
Development --> Pilot + Validation --> Full deployment --> Mainstreaming and Uptake
The partners will rely on a practical approach to develop relevant and useful training solutions that can provide tangible and directly applicable knowledge and tools for SMEs to operate in international markets and concretely engage in cross-border transactions. This is not an informative project: ACT-SME will develop practical and operational solutions and tools for SMEs.
ACT SME will produce tangible and concrete results that will be deployed during implementation of the project to enhance the operational capacity of SMEs to act in international markets and enhance their growth prospects and competitiveness. The key tangible results of the project are:
1. ACT-SME OER platform for SMEs to access and use the training resources and business tools
2. ACT-SME training material and business tools in 6 language versions
3. At least 250 SMEs trained in 6 countries on internationalisation and cross-border transaction
4. ACT-SME Tool Box for adoption, deployment and use of ACT-SME tools and training for the Community of VET providers
ACT-SME is envisioned as a long-term endeavor with immediate and tangible impact on SMEs, their competitiveness and growth in international markets. The OER Platform will allow for open access with no limitation of sort to the ACT-SME training and tools. The ACT-SME OER platform will be maintained operational after the end of the project to ensure sustainability and long term impact of the project; the ACT-SME is meant to become not only a source of training tools and solutions for SMEs but also a platform for exchange and intermediation among SMEs and potentially become the platform for cross-border transaction facilitation among firms.
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