Responsible entrepreneurship - a way of increasing.. (RespEn)
Responsible entrepreneurship - a way of increasing SMEs competitiveness during economic crisis
Start date: May 31, 2010,
End date: Mar 30, 2013
According to EC a definition of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is: "A concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis".Presented bilateral project proposal is devoted to spreading this management concept among SB SMEs in order to ensure fruitful business cooperation between companies from old and new EU countries even though their consciousness and operational level differ. These differences become crucial in context of SMEs cooperation, especially within international supply chains. Project proposal focuses on bilateral Polish-Swedish cooperation due to existing strong business linkages and export markets (Sweden is a 3rd biggest export market from Pomerania, exports: 2,9 billion EUR, imports: 3,5 billion EUR). Most of Swedish companies to ensure their competitiveness on the market already adopted CSR concept into their management standards and this is what they look for (what became a must) while searching for new suppliers and cooperants. Such kind of supply chain which integrates CSR concept is named Responsible Supply Chain (RSC). That means for SMEs which want to keep or increase their share on the market by cooperating within Responsible Supply Chain managed by the biggest corporations on the market (Scania, IKEA, ABB) the need to meet their expectations. Therefore the main aim of the project is to intensify cross-border relations between Swedish and Polish companies by introducing CSR concept to SMEs. During the project a study of implementation level of CSR in Polish and Swedish SMEs is planned in order to determine the differences between partner regions (PR) in this field (C3). The expertise will allow to identify the needs of examined SMEs and to design suitable training programme which further can be adopted in other SB regions (C4). Training programme will be tested by pilot scale implemenation in PR (workshops for SMEs in C4). Already observed differences in CSR implementation in PR require different approach to Polish and Swedish SMEs which are depicted in C5 content.Swedish SMEs are more aware of CSR advantages but still need to improve their skills in strategic planning of CSR implementation – guidelines, checklists, activity plans & Diplomas will be of help in that process whereas Polish SMEs will be provided with instructions how to start integrating CSR into their management systems. Project activities will result in establishing new cross-border relations between SMEs and in preparation of pilot group of SMEs to cooperation within RSC. Project results, although based on Polish-Swedish business operations will be transferable to other regions in SB area. As a result of project partners cooperation a long-lasting network supporting implementation of CSR in SMEs will be build, ensuring duration of project results. Achievements: The project was set up and developed without major problems, the established pratnership is working efficiently and very well. The communication activities regarding the project itself as well as the CSR issues are continuosly conducted within the partner regions and outside them. Project partners are taking part in variuous conferences, leading the seminars and workshops, are invited also as a conference speakers to the events organised by European Comission (e.g. RespEn project was presented during the Interreg Forum III in Stockholm 9-10 of February 2011, conference in Malmo "Smart Specialisation and Growth in the Baltic Sea Region" 5-6.04.2011, or networking conference "Better CSR Advice to SME" 12-13.06.2012, Berlin). Moreover LB & RBF are members of the Corporate Social Responsibility Team at the Polish Ministry of Economy. RespEn project coordinator took also part in the process of creating the work plan for the promotion and development of the social economy sector in the Pomerania region for years 2011-2013.The research of CSR in SMEs was successfully conducted in Pomerania and Kalmar region, and the post study report was published. The research methodology was made public as well (as a part of the post-study report). Some parts of the research questionnaire were used by the coordinators of the Małopolska Economic Observatory (MEO) in Marshal Office of the Małopolskie Voivodeship in order to conduct the research and prepare the report "CSR in Małopolska" (http://www.gospodarka.obserwatoria.malopolska.pl/CmsContent.mvc/NewsDetails/0/189).CSR training programme for SMEs was prepared by Partners and external experts, then tested and adjusted during CSR pilot WORKSHOPS for SMEs conducted in Pomerania and Kalmar Lan. Individual work with SMEs participating in the workshops was done.Pomeranian Contest "Company of the Future" has been expanded with a new category of "Responsible company in the business" which is continued. Three editions were already completed.The cooperation with the "Orange academy of Uni-Logistics" which aims at educating selected students of University of Gdańsk in the practical aspects of the logistics profession. This is a long term cooperation which already resulted in workshops for the students of the Academy, as well as several presentations/lectures given during conferences and logistic trade shows. This cooperation allows us to communicate with the companies from the TSL sector which are difficult to be reached in other ways (closed branch). The cooperation with Maritime Academy in Gdynia - resulted in 2 lectures given by Marcelina Przybysz (coordinator of communication within the project) during the scientific seminars at the Academy. Both sides are actually looking for CSR cooperation opportunities within future partnership projects.Organizing Seminar promoting Global Compact Principles of Responsible Management Education in Warsaw. Preparing websites www.interesariusze.pl and www.engagingstakeholders.eu which are the knowledge base about the importance of stakeholders in the process of CSR implementating.The project is now completed and have reached the results so far as it was possible taking into consideration the annexing problems. It managed to keep in Sweden a very enjoyable and rewarding seminar where the five companies received their Diplomas.
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