“SYNERGY – Harnessing the Learning Assets Within the SME Business Community“, focuses on Small- and Medium-Enterprises (SME) in particular, as they are the backbone of the European economy. More than 99% of the European businesses are SMEs and 92.2% of them are micro-enterprises (less than 10 employees). SMEs provide work for two out of three persons in the European Union. These facts may give a picture about how important SMEs are for the Unions economy and society.
However, as the economy and society are changing and developing rapidly, there is the need for training within the companies particularly to improve performance, productivity and profitability, and to reduce failure rates. But, the participation-rates of owner-managers and small firms in such trainings are low. This may be reasond by the long duration of many training activities, their costs, lacks of relevance of recent offers, or because the managers do not considers learning and training as a priority (Forfas 2010).
Therefore, the aim of SYNERGY is to “improve the quality and relevance of VET provision to micro-enterprises to support the transformation of the European economy into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by developing and implementing a bespoke learning environment for vocational education professionals and micro-enterprise owners to ensure the development of micro-enterprises and to enable this dynamic sector realize its true potential.”
Related to this, the objectives of SYNERGY are the following:
- To support the development of a culture of learning within the micro-enterprise sector cultivating positive attituted towards learning among micro-enterprise owners by ensuring that learning materials developed are relevant to their needs and appropriate to their learning preferences.
- To support the continuous professional development of vocational education staff by providing a bespoke in-service training program that builds their knowledge and understanding of the business world and supports their work in non-traditional blended learning environments.
- To create a sense of community animating micro-enterprise owners and education service providers towards a common set of educational goals and objectives ensuring that service provision is tailored to address the needs of local businesses.
- To design and implement a series of cost-effective, flexible, bespoke peer-to-peer learning micro-social networks to considerably increase the range and accessibility of educational services and supports.
- To provide a suite of bespoke media-rich learning resources that address specific skill needs within the micro-enterprise sector identified through research with the target group.
- To promote inter-cultural awareness and grow the potential for international business development for micro-enterprises by linking the on-line learning communities created in the different Member States.