In this framework EVITA builds on various good practices developed under different regional or interregional development programs, (namely, the “2Bdigital” program in Catalunya, the GOONLINE initiative and the “e-business forum” mechanism in Greece, the ELISA project in the Balkan area, the “telecenters” in Bulgaria, the “Echangeurs” program in France, the “From insight to action” program in Sweden) in order to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies in the area of the access of SMEs, to knowledge, information, e-business practices and the globalized digital economy in regions with low IT penetration (Southern Aegean-Greece, Yogazapaden-Bulgaria, Pomurska-Slovenia, Latvia, Galicia-Spain).
Consequentlly, the idea of the proposal lies in the field of sharing, exchange, valorization, transfer and dissemination of good policy practices on:
- SME support for IT adoption,
- improvement of e-skills of SME professionals
- training on e-business
- e-business practices promotion
In this context, the EVITA consortium includes 3 types of partners:
a. partners who have implemented “best-practice” policy initiatives for the adoption of IT and e-business practices
b. partners representing “Objective 1” regions who are lagging behind in terms of IT and e-business penetration and who are about to design relevant regional policies in the framework of the 2007-2013 Structural Funds funding period
c. partners with expertise in e-learning, IT training, SME competitiveness and regional development plans and who can act as catalysts for the successful transfer of the good practices.
In parallel, EVITA approaches an additional problem, connected with the one described.
It is a fact that e-Learning can contribute to the achievement of needed competences and at the same time can meet the pronounced needs for flexibility in SMEs. Some years ago, the introduction and use of eLearning in small and medium sized companies (SMEs) has been seen as unproblematic and, in fact, as the only path to answering training needs in SMEs. It was assumed that managers of SMEs would recognize the problem of meeting adequately the continuous training needs of their staff for innovation and that the updating of professional knowledge and skills could be supported by eLearning, as cheap, just in time training taking place on-line and/or at the working place.
Nevertheless, the use of e-learning by SMEs is still low, mainly due to:
· Training culture within the SMEs which is often dependent on trainer and conventional training methods; skills needed for a more independent approach and the use of new media for learning are missing.
· SME managers have not enough knowledge or are not convinced of the effectiveness of eLearning. The Staff has a lack of time and motivation to test new learning methods.
· Appropriate software and contents for SMEs are missing. The major part of commercial eLearning software is modelled on the requirements of big enterprises or higher education and SMEs can not afford to pay tailor-made ones.
In this framework, EVITA proposes the creation of a flexible training tool consisting in an e-business training content and an e-learning platform for all targeted areas and the certification of 24 e-learners in those areas, certification based on international standards. This way, EVITA equips the targeted regions not only with experiences from other, more advanced regions, but also with tangible practical tools for implementing e-business training strategies for SMEs and the adequate trained staff that could act as accelerators and multipliers of training policy measures.
Main activities of the project
- 6 Study Visits for the presentation of the “best policy initiatives” to all partners,
- 5 Policy Maker Workshops for the transfer of “best policy initiatives” to local Policy Makers in Latvia, Southern Aeagean, Yugozapaden, Pomusrka, Galicia,
- Creation of a multilingual e-learning platform enriched with multimedia “e-business training content” (Latvian, Greek, Spanish, Maltese, Bulgarian, Slovenian),
- a seminar for the creation of “e-tutors” task forces, with the certification of 24 e-trainers from Latvia, Bulgaria, Malta, Southern Aegean, Galicia, Slovenia,
- Identification and benchmarking of the 25 best-fitting policy measures from all over Europe and creation of a best practice guide,
- Development of 5 regional “IT training strategy reports” for Southern Aegean, Latvia, Yogazapaten-Bulgaria,
- a study on the impact of e-learning on the local SMEs competitiveness,
- 7 local and 3 external dissemination events to promote the project’s results.
The expected results of the project in the targeted areas are the improvement of relevant regional policies, the improvement of e-skills and the increase in IT use and e-business practices adoption by SMEs. In the long term, EVITA aims at sustained impacts on innovation, competitiveness and economic growth in the targeted areas.
Budget: 1.703.111€, Duration: 36 months.