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Empowering businesses Seeking Growth – SeeG

08 August 2022
Published in Last News

The project entitled Empowering businesses Seeking Growthwith acronym SeeG, aims to create - promote an ecosystem that favors entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs as well as to promote an environment that supports entrepreneurs (including start-ups), adapt services to their real needs, take advantage of theirwidevisibility and cultivate cooperation and networking conditions. The challenges that triggered this initiative are:

$1·        lack of horizontal and personalized support services for providing guidance and support mechanisms for making the use out of funding opportunities. To be addressed through the development of an entrepreneurship support system.

$1·        limited access of entrepreneurs to business know-how, as knowledge is not shared and ‘spilled over’ effect does not benefit horizontally all enterprises as it is usually limited amongst innovators. To be addressed through knowledge and knowhow exchange tools.

$1·        limited access to general information and contacts, as not all enterprises have access to the same up to date information sources. To be addressed through awareness raising activities and use of informative tools and channels.

$1·        lack of support services for developing competitive products-services. To be addressed through the development of an entrepreneurship support system.

$1·        lack of access/know-how regarding cost saving technologies. To be addressed via horizontal and personalized support services.

$1·        inadequate human development and skills. To be addressed through activities enhancing skills and capabilities on thematics relevant to entrepreneurial knowledge.

$1·        lack of collaboration

The chosen approach that will be adopted involves the following pilot elements:

1. Creative exchange: use of processes (such as workshops, round tables etc.), including ‘cross-cutting’ beyond sectors, regions and / or scientific disciplines, in which possible partners – beneficiaries are invited to articulate their needs, opportunities and expectations.

2. Matchmaking: challenge of attempting to combine the stimulating interest of entrepreneurs (and to be ones) with the academic society.

3. Theory in practice: the academic society out of its usual scope of activities, that is expanding their target of audience which is normally limited down to graduates and researchers, but hardly ever to business community itself.

4. Not just publicity: use of dissemination tools, not for solely promoting the project and its results – outputs but in favor of the actual beneficiaries, by aiming to promote the ‘entrepreneurship culture’ all together to the wider public.

5. Self Confidence: inclusion of activities for building self-confidence and personal growth of those coping with the idea for creating a new business, as it seems that this a drawback factor influencing or limiting dramatically taking the next step for newcomers in business. We usually meet such type of actions included in projects and initiatives targeting unemployed and vulnerable groups, underestimating the impact that low confidence has in the decision making of an entrepreneur or of a person in the process of a business idea.

6. Flexibility: initiatives in the field of employment or entrepreneurship support services, normally follow a ‘concrete’ predefined structure, that is specified activities directed to specific beneficiaries. The proposed, in our case, grid of activities is based, however on the provision of a wide variety of activities – services to a general public, consisted of entrepreneurs, individuals in the process of starting own business, individuals wondering if they are able to do so etc. The introduction of a profiling procedure at all stages of the project’s lifecycle enables to address identified needs (of those in interest) and proceed in provision of the right mix of services. At the same time the flexibility of providing services via personalized or group sessions, enhances the achievement of better and definitely more effective results.

The main outputs of the project that will significantly improve entrepreneurship conditions on the CB area, and contribute to the main objectives of the project are:

$1ü  the implementation of networking actions such as round tables, business forums, thematic workshops & a partnership opportunity platform, contributing to the promotion of the transnational cooperation

$1ü  the development of a business growth strategic framework containing a mapping study on a CB region and at EU level best practices on matters of innovation, extroversion and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

$1ü  enhancing the SMEs’ support system through the development of a training material, including webinars & toolkits

$1ü  the implementation of trainings focusing on organization & management of SMEs with emphasis on crisis periods, viable financial management-debt recovery techniques, low cost IT efficient technologies, growth accelerators, constraint eliminators etc.

$1ü  the implementation of boosting business skills sessions focused on 2 main categories, upon profiling of the beneficiaries (a) promoting personal growth, self-confidence & networking skills for new or to be entrepreneurs & (b) business adaptation to new ISO standards requirements, risk analysis – management, Business continuity plan, GDPR etc.

$1ü  the realization of thematic workshops, including study visits, focusing on innovation management, extroversion, social economy, startups, evaluating funding opportunities, equal opportunities & non-discrimination in business, e-commerce & cyber security

$1ü  the development of an entrepreneurship support model including the provision of consultancy services at business level or group, personalized consultancy services & business coaching for entrepreneurs

An initiative on Capitalising Tourism's prospects of the region – CapTour

08 August 2022
Published in Last News

The project entitled An initiative on Capitalising Tourism's prospects of the regionwith acronym CapTour, aims to strengthen the key factors affecting entrepreneurial success in the tourism industry within the CB area. The project is focusing in the SMEs of this sector, since the place and role of small and medium enterprises in the tourism and hospitality industry have a great impact to the socio-economic development of the CB area and tourism entrepreneurship development is considered as a dynamic factor in the development of local communities. Strengthening the factors affecting entrepreneurship in tourism industry development entails the realization of concrete actions with a great impact in the Organizational, the Network and the Technological factors affecting it. The common CB problems tackled through the envisaged actions are:

$1·        Difficulties in obtaining business finance: Given the limited access & the lack of research, the project will eliminate difficulties in obtaining business finance for SMEs active in the value chain of tourism

$1·        Limited access to know-how: The project will facilitate cooperation to foster peer to peer learning as well as to exchange knowledge & good practices in enhancing entrepreneurship development & in increasing tourism sustainability.

$1·        Limited access to general information & contacts: Activities for network building, awareness raising & use of informative tools & channels have been envisaged

$1·        Lack of support services for developing competitive products-services: Challenge relates to the lack of horizontal & personalized support services, in order SMEs & entrepreneurs in tourism sector to be able to develop and provide competitive services & products

$1·        Lack of know-how regarding cost saving technologies: Horizontal & personalized support services are envisaged aiming to address this challenge

$1·        Inadequate human development & skills: Activities for enhancing skills & capabilities on thematics relevant to entrepreneurial knowledge but also affecting attitudes towards entrepreneurial activity, are envisaged

$1·        The lack of collaboration opportunities and networking schemes will be also addressed

$1·        These challenges will be addressed through a well-designed approach that includes pilot actions for the tourism sector:

$1·        New links creation: In the area of intervention there are significant broken links between academic society & business life. It seems that up to now academic society’s involvement in relevant projects was limited to elaborating studies. But there is a great need for putting theory into practice by challenging potential beneficiaries to participate in an open dialogue with the academic society which may create new potentials.

The project consists of actions that has as a goal to strengthen the SMEs’ support system in order to improve entrepreneurship conditions in the value chain of tourism. This will be achieved by actions tailored to those aiming to start business & to those who are already active. Actions of the project, such the partnership opportunity e-platform will provide business support via published projects’ outputs for those who want to start a business, while networking for SMEs will be easier since networking opportunities will be hosted. Sectoral round tables & business forums will be realized in order potential entrepreneurs to have access to sector know-how & support in generating business ideas. Also, potential entrepreneurs will gain know-how via their participation in training, consulting & mentoring actions. Special attention will be given to new & newly established SMEs, since via the project the needed skills for business success will be provided and the SMEs’ support will be enhanced.

The main outputs of the project that will significantly improve entrepreneurship conditions on the CB area, and contribute to the main objectives of the project are:

$1Ø  the implementation of networking actions such as round tables, business forums, thematic workshops & a partnership opportunity platform, contributing to the promotion of the transnational cooperation

$1Ø  the development of a mapping study aiming at enhancing tourism sector through gathering best practices across EU regarding financial instruments in tourism development, finance, sustainable tourism & tourism-led growth models in practice

$1Ø  enhancing the SMEs’ support system through the development of a supporting training material such as a trilingual training material, including webinars & toolkits

$1Ø  the implementation of skills enhancement trainings focusing on issues such as organization & management of SMEs, with emphasis on financial management, IT use, introducing new services & products with tourist orientation

$1Ø  the implementation of short building skills sessions focused on customer service for tourist businesses, tourism Marketing for enterprises & self-employed, raising awareness on tourist ID & its importance for local economies

$1Ø  the realization of thematic workshops, including study visits, focusing on thematics such as innovation, CSR, extroversion, social economy, quality standards, thematic tourism & travel blogging

$1Ø  the development of a tourism support scheme including the provision of consultancy services at business activity level or group, the provision of personalized support services and the provision of mentoring services (group based) to entrepreneurs

European Investment Bank backs transformation of civil protection and pandemic preparedness

28 January 2021
Published in Last News

"S.M.R. Consultants" is delighted to announce you that the European Investment Bank (EIB) supports transformation of civil protection and pandemic preparedness. Our company has been providing consulting services to the General Secretariat for Civil Protection with respect to COVID-19 response, disaster prevention and management. More precisely, we managed to accomplish the following:

  • EUR 595 million support to strengthen COVID-19 response, disaster prevention and management
  • New equipment, local coordination and risk assessment in all 13 Greek regions
  • Largest ever EIB backing for civil protection and resilience to natural disasters

Civil protection across Greece to better tackle COVID-19 and reduce loss of life through natural disasters will be transformed under a new EUR 595 million European Investment Bank loan formally agreed earlier today. Long-term financing and shared technical best-practice will help to transform disaster prevention and response to pandemics and natural disasters including floods, forest fires and earthquakes in all 13 Greek regions.

The expected impact and broad scope of the first ever EIB support to the General Secretariat for Civil Protection was highlighted by Christos Staikouras, Finance Minister of the Hellenic Republic and Governor of the European Investment Bank, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Chardalias and Christian Kettel Thomsen, EIB Vice President responsible for Greece during a virtual announcement earlier today.

“The protection of human life from natural disasters and pandemics is a constant top priority for Greece and has become even more crucial after last year's challenges due to severe weather phenomena and COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s important new agreement with the European Investment Bank will transform civil protection across Greece and help achieve this goal. The European Investment Bank is a key partner of Greece and the new EUR 595 million loan agreed today, following the systematic, hard work done by the Greek Civil Protection and rapid EIB approval, demonstrates how the EIB is supporting visionary investment to fortify Greece against natural disasters, extreme weather and pandemics.” said Christos Staikouras, Minister of Finance of the Hellenic Republic and Governor of the European Investment Bank.

“Pandemics and natural disaster can occur at any time and investing is crucial to save lives and ensure a quicker and more effective response when disaster strikes. The first ever European Investment Bank support for the General Secretariat for Civil Protection will accelerate priority projects and procurement of essential equipment across Greece and enable the whole country to help tackle future fires, floods, earthquakes and pandemics. Fires and floods that have taken a heavy toll in recent years and the impact of COVID-19 have shown how disaster prevention, rapid response and availability of specialist equipment is essential. This new EUR 595 million long-term financing will accelerate investment to improve environmental protection, disaster management and response to public health emergencies and will allow an even better preparedness of the Civil Protection mechanism,” said Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management, Nikos Chardalias.

“Extreme weather, fires, earthquakes and COVID-19 have led to unexpected loss of life and show the importance of ensuring that professional and effective help can arrive quickly. Over recent months technical and financial experts from Greece and the European Investment Bank have outlined projects across Greece where disaster preparedness can be improved through unlocking new investment. The European Investment Bank is pleased to agree our largest ever support for civil protection in Europe through our first ever loan with the Ministry of Citizen Protection. Lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic and best practice identified by this scheme will help to save lives in Greece and strengthen future best practice of civil protection across Europe.” said Christian Kettel Thomsen, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Greece.

The new initiative, representing the largest ever targeted support for civil protection in Europe backed by the European Investment Bank, will provide mobile field hospitals, firefighting and medical evacuation aircraft, helicopters, drones and rescue equipment key to reduce loss of lives following natural disasters like fires, earthquakes and floods.

The programme, to be implemented over the next 5 years, will completely restructure civil protection in Greece enabling a quicker response, strengthened local preparedness and coordination and better supply of personnel and equipment.

Strengthening civil protection across Greece

The new investment includes provision of new equipment for use by the Hellenic Fire Service in the event of natural disasters, including helicopters and aircraft to fight wildfires and evacuate medical emergencies. Local disaster prevention, preparedness and response will be transformed by the creation of 13 regional civil protection teams and new communications networks and IT systems for use across the country.

Ensuring best practice in disaster prevention

Experts from the Greek government and the European Investment Bank will work together during implementation of the new initiative to use best-practice from across Europe and to further strengthen future disaster prevention investment across Europe.

Improving civil protection cooperation in Europe

The new investment will improve European coordination of civil protection and disaster response. New specialist equipment can be used to help other countries in times of need under the new European Union RescEU civil protection mechanism. This enables firefighting planes and helicopters, medical evacuation planes, as well as a stockpile of medical equipment and field hospitals from EU member states to be used to respond to health emergencies.

Project "QUALIFY"

06 August 2020
Published in Last News

Quality standards and authenticity to foster competitiveness of agri-food SMEs (QUALIFY) has been designed to foster the competitiveness of the SMEs in the agri-food sector by tackling a challenge that affects the involved regions and the whole EU (as stated by the European Commission):

  • The improvement of the quality processes of these SMEs.
  • The fight against the fraud in the sector.
  • The promotion of the authenticity in their products.

Overcoming the barriers related to these challenges is to foster the reduction of costs, better chain values, better processes, and better products that will allow the tackled SMEs to grow and be more competitive in the national and international markets, where they need to enlarge their presence in front of larger companies, which are much less challenged by the presented topics.

The project aims at ensuring that when the projects funded under these schemes tackle agrifood SMEs they introduce aspects of quality, fraud prevention, and authenticity, which must complement the existing financial and non-financial instruments, enlarging the desired outcome: the growth of these SMEs.

 

The project also aims at enlarging the capacities of the managing authorities, relevant SMEs representatives and other stakeholders to better tackle these aspects and develop better and more efficient projects.

 

The objectives are based on the framework of selected instruments and their needs, as well as the logic for transregional collaboration, the EU Cohesion Policy and the ESIF, and the respective RIS3, all around the topic of the project, where managing authorities require strategic capacities to align actions and build on critical mass. QUALIFY’s overall objective is to promote the competitiveness of the SMEs in the agri-food sector through better quality and authenticity levels and standards, improving the policies tackling the promotion of the SMEs in this industry by ensuring that this relevant issue is present and efficiently introduced and implemented in the policies and strategies.

 

Other sub-objectives of the project are:

 

(i)            to ensure that SMEs in the sector have more efficient and effective quality standards to make them more competitive;

 

(ii)           to promote quality and authenticity standards as a key aspect for product differentiation, avoiding fraud;

 

(iii)          to set up a learning process starting from best practice identification and exchange of practice to manage ERDF-based instruments on interregional actions linked to the support of SMEs competitiveness;

 

(iv)         to support the implementation of PPs’ instruments action plans, explicitly exploiting the possibility to invest ESIF in smart specialisation areas linked to agrifood industry and its SMEs;

 

(v)          to develop the notion of cross-border knowledge exchange, where all PPs build on their knowledge through other partners’ experience and transferring their own;

 

(vi)         to promote the engagement of the stakeholders of the quadruple helix model in improving policy instruments;

 

(vii)        to foster the use of the ICTs as a main tool for competitiveness also in the agri-food sector, following the provisions of the EU’s digital agenda.

The Partners of the porject are the follwoing:

LP:       - Government of Catalonia – Department of Agriculture,Livestock,Fisheriesand Food

PP2:     - Chamber of Agriculture of la Vienne

PP3:     - Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

PP4:     - Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia

PP5:     - Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

PP6:     - Region of Thessaly

 

 

Project "The Playful Paradigm"

31 October 2019
Published in Last News

 

 

 

Cities offer unique opportunities for addressing the challenges of urbanization, ageing, climate change, social exclusion, only if enabling, enjoyable places are co-created. The project entitled "Play and the City: an innovative paradigm for social inclusion, sustainability and place-making", with acronym "The Playful Paradigm", aims to transfer the playful paradigm based on gamification as an innovative concept for promoting social inclsusion, healthy lifestyles & energy awareness, intergenerational & cultural mediation, place making & economy prosperity. Games offer new strategies for engaging city stakeholders in urban development. Make the healthy choice the enjoyable choice is this project's inspiring place-making principle. The holistic nature of games makes them excellent media for promoting inclusion and belonging; enabling individuals; overcominh inequities and frailty; pulling down walls and building bridges. This answers to the need of re-thinking the "community welfare", by engaging local communities and enhancing their cohesion and resilience. To promote health and decarbonisation City Health and Energy Diplomacy through social innovation needs to be implemented by Local Authorities in relation to different actors in the city and with other cities in Europe. This amounts to what can be called social brokerage and intermediation among all stakeholders. The participant countries are Italy, Lithuania, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Poland, Ireland and Spain.  

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