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Young Retailers Competitive in Europe
Start date: Feb 1, 2015, End date: Jan 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Worldwide statistics are clear, where it is estimated that approximately 70% of family-owned business do not survive into the 2nd generation and 90% no longer controlled by the 3rd generation of the family. Succession between generations in family businesses is less straightforward than it used to be. Today’s generation is growing up in a commercial culture which is radically different from that in which earlier family members took on responsibility. Family-owned businesses play a vital role in the economic development of a country. Most successful companies around the globe started as family owned businesses. The young entrepreneurs of the G20 hold the key to solving our youth unemployment problem, but we must help them to achieve their potential 66% of the young entrepreneurs say they need say entrepreneurial skills need to be specifically taught. Thus, the role of family businesses in the European economy is paramount to the success of the countries that comprise the biggest economic region in the world. The @theEUAGORA project aims to create an online training and knowledge platform particularly addressing young entrepreneurs who are about to inherit or are in the first couple of years of running a family business in the retail sector. All training material will be OERs available for e-learning and m-devices supporting ICT-based training, social learning models, a gamified approach, using specific authoring software and translated in all partner languages, accessible through the platform. Guest access will be available and connection with other OER databases will be made. This target group of young people is in need of particular and specific knowledge, not too generic but practical and according to their needs, and skills in using existing, empirical knowledge turning it into competitive advantage. These young entrepreneurs need to have business skills and knowledge, either informal or formal education and training period (external and/or internal to the firm), in order to offer two intertwined effects on the family firm. Their skills, experience and capabilities in leading organizations are important conditions to gain credibility and legitimacy (Barach Ganitsky, 1995; & Chrisman et al., 1998). Besides, the expertise and stock of knowledge of these people determines the absorptive capacity (Cohen and Levithal, 1990, p. 128) that avoids delays and fosters the ability to exploit the new knowledge. Early exposure to the family business (Fairlie and Robb, 2005, Ward, 1987; and Barach et al., 1988), outside work experience (Barach and Ganitsky, 1995), formal education (Jon C. Carr, 2007 and Goldberg, 1996; and Morris et al., 1997) and training programs (Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurship Development Institute, 2014 and Churchill and Hatten, 1987) are considered factors positively correlated with a smooth succession for the future generation. The project aims through the platform and project activities, to provide young family business entrepreneurs in the urban retail sector, the necessary skills, competences and knowledge to achieve a professional, advanced and excellent management to become leading, modern and established entrepreneurs. The target group is aged between 18-30 years old with real needs of keeping family businesses alive and competing with global actors in Europe today facing economic difficulties. Advanced OER training material will be designed and developed using gamification elements and learning outcomes design, thus conforming to ECVET, training material accessible through multiple devices, user friendly system allowing for cross-country collaboration and exchange of knowledge and skills. Highly interactive, the infrastructure and project activities will be dedicated to retail shop owners training them on subjects such as innovation management, social media marketing, international competition, local markets and national markets etc. Expert interviews, good practices and collaboration circles will be created for the enhancement of skills and testing of knowledge acquired. The project aims to contribute to the specific objective of improving the level of key competences and skills and strengthening the link between youth entrepreneurial spirit to the labour market.
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