Archive of European Projects

Value of Failure
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Dec 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

There is a clear economic and social rationale to promoting a second chance for failed entrepreneurs and deriving positive experience from negative situations. First and foremost, businesses set up by re-starters grow faster than first timers in terms of turnover and jobs created (Stam, Audretsch, Meijaard 2006; Enterprise Europe Network), and approximately one fifth of all successful business people failed first time round. Secondly, most of the time, business failure is not due to the incompetence of the entrepreneurs. Thirdly, there is a lot of evidence to show that Europeans as a whole are relatively risk-averse, especially compared to countries such as the USA. In Germany e.g. only 1-2% of new companies per year are founded by second chance entrepreneurs (see KfW-Gründungsmonitor 2013) and the World Bank recently critiqued Poland for its failure to understand the value of second chance entrepreneurs as manifested in its particularly onerous liquidiation procedures (Devictor, 2013). EU Enterprise and Employment strategy already contains numerous references to second chance policies. However, until now this concept is almost completely absent from VET provision. Research shows that second chance entrepreneurs have different support and information needs than first time entrepreneurs (Melle-Wigt 2006, Kay 2004, Siegel 2006) but HEI & VET providers continue to offer a uniform service. Hence, the principal innovative contribution of this project will be to kickstart the development of a comprehensive and integrated international approach to second chance entrepreneurs by constructing tailormade training and support for them and mainstreaming it across relevant stakeholders at regional level. In order to do so we will firstly create three Regional “Second Chance Entrepreneurs Alliances”. This new strategy involves bringing together stakeholders in enterprise education and economic development - such as Universities and Colleges, VET providers, Enterprise Development Agencies, Local Governments, Banks, and Chambers of Commerce - to jointly contribute to sustainable cultural and institutional change towards business failure. This will be achieved in a “top down” strategy via dialogue, exchange of best practice and construction of a common agenda for action. This type of Alliance has never been used before in Europe and once stakeholders are aware of the changes needed, they will be in a position to work together, pooling resources to make effective and cost effective improvements in services. We will systematize the process and lessons learned in the form of a SEAL Toolkit, which will be published and actively promoted as a means of replicating the Alliances in other regions. As a first concrete outcome of the collaboration espoused by the Alliance, we will then develop, test, publish and promote a dynamic “Value of Failure Enterprise” training course directly targeted at graduates and second chance entrepreneurs. Specifically, the content of the course itself will be innovative: - It closes the gaps between information needs and existing support infrastructures - It is based on innovative pedagogic strategies and learning approaches such as the flipped classroom model, improved learner integration and the story-based learning approach. - It is based on the principle of collaboration for mutual advantage - It promotes innovation through fostering the chance of successful re-starts. VOF is delivered by a cross-sectoral partnership led by University Szczecin (Poland), known for its commitment to collaboration as a means to pursuing excellence. They will be joined by Enterprise Northern Ireland (UK) the primary Enterprise Education Organisation in the Northern Ireland region of the UK specialising in VET training and regional economic development programmes. Visionworks (Germany) are a specialised business start-up consultancy, whose practical and holistic approach to enterprise training is reflected in highly successful online learning platform “Univations Academy”. The partnership is completed by Canice Consulting (UK), an international consultancy in the field of business VET with a growing specialism in digital learning and online marketing and Creo Mind (Poland), whose Director is a recognised authority in Entrepreneurship education and new pedagogical approaches. As a result of our project, the 40 graduates and second chance entrepreneurs who participate in the Value of Failure Enterprise course will grow confident in their understanding and application of risk and the value of failure and are more likely to become self-employed entrepreneurs or gain the confidence to set up another business. At organizational level, the project provides HEIs & VET providers with real motivation to integrate the learning course into their own portfolio of services, as it is a high quality, cost effective solution to a real demand they are facing.
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