Start date: Sep 1, 2015,
End date: Aug 31, 2017
Setting up a business is increasingly easy but keeping it going is much tougher: 50% of enterprises don’t survive the first 5 years and bankruptcies account for 15% of business closures. The recent financial crisis caused a peak in business failure in Ireland, Netherlands, Spain and Bulgaria.
Since recognising the need to enable honest, failed entrepreneurs to start over in business in the Small Business Act (2008), the EU Commission has been increasingly committed to second chance support, but initiatives at EU and national level have largely focused on the legislative, technical and financial framework. In addition, while first time entrepreneurs can access abundant start up support, experienced entrepreneurs are largely uncatered for. Research shows that they have different support and information needs, but VET providers continue to offer a uniform service, the content of which has remained largely unchanged for a decade or more.
We believe that if small enterprises are to continue as a key driver of European growth and the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy are to be fulfilled, it is essential to retain and retrain existing entrepreneurs with the skills needed for future success, and to promote attitudinal change, motivating failed entrepreneurs to overcome the stigma of failure and providing new entrepreneurs with realistic expectations of their venture and the ability to act early when things go wrong.
RESTART will achieve this in 4 regions in Ireland, Spain, Netherlands and Bulgaria by working with stakeholders, VET/enterprise education providers and second time entrepreneurs to produce:
a) 4 Restart Regional Alliances and 4 Action Plans in which key 48 stakeholders come together to improve the quality and relevance of training for second time entrepreneurs at regional level, and encouraging further Alliances through a Restart Toolkit.
c) A course curriculum, guiding VET practitioners on the topics and skills most needed by second time entrepreneurs in today’s economies.
d) A blended learning course, “Restart: The Value of Starting Over” to be delivered to second time entrepreneurs in VET centres, but with many elements suitable for start up courses and enterprise and business undergraduate courses.
The project will run for 24 months and a developed by a partnership of providers of enterprise education led by Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT), one of Ireland’s leading higher education institutes whose CoLab, an innovation centre for business start up and growth, has played a pivotal role in changing attitudes towards innovation and entrepreneurship in north west Ireland.
Because of its unique structure, Restart Entrepreneurship will make an immediate and proactive contribution to the creation of a new European approach to business failure, generating both attitudinal and behavioural change (top down and bottom up), while also making a significant improvement in the supply of training for this specific group, whose experience and potential has been under-recognised in the VET and business support community until now.
Projected impacts include:
- Improved quality and access to VET training for second time entrepreneurs, leading to an increase in the number of individuals who return to self-employment. They are more likely to operate more successful SMEs, create growth in turnover and employment, both increasing their own personal welfare and contributing to wider economic growth in the region.
- attitudinal changes and improved risk management skills among young prestart entrepreneurs, preventing some aspects of entrepreneurial failure and equipping them to deal correctly with it, should it occur.
- Partner organizations better equipped to fulfil their missions, based on significant increase in knowledge and social capital at European level, and opening ideas and doors to future projects to improve quality of service for this group.
Finally, at European level, we believe the project will have a significant impact on the “Second Chance” agenda as enshrined in the Small Business Act and championed by EU level actors such as the EC Director General for Enterprise and Industry, enabling more work to be done on the “soft” and “educational” aspects of the agenda and providing a very practical case study of how to achieve cross-sectoral collaboration to update VET provision in fast moving landscapes using a step-by-step guide, which can be replicated in regions across Europe.
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