O6 - Guidelines for the establishment of the Entrepreneurship Centres

The three VET partnersBBS, UBB and ADINVEST International have accumulated an impressive amount of experiences in SME support activities. This gave birth to the idea of establishing SME support centres, called Entrepreneurship Centres, to be integrated into the institution’s body and offering a cluster of trainings and mentoring activities for SMEs. The Finnish partner LAMK already has such a centre which can be a starting point for the definition of the Entrepreneurship Centre.

This work package will conceptualise the establishment of an Entrepreneurship Centre, and will elaborate on the organisation and on how to concretely operate such a centre.

  • The entrepreneurship centre will invite a range of local and regional stakeholders in its Governing Board.
  • These stakeholders will be or will have access to SME networks or federations and so can help establish partnerships between SMEs, the VET institutions and a variety of social partners.
  • These partnerships inside the governance will facilitate access to SMEs and to prepare a long list of SMEs who are interested in benefiting of the services of the Entrepreneurship Centre in order to improve their performance.

A procedure to be worked out is to select the SMEs in real and urgent need of support and also to select the special services of the centre the chosen SMEs are in need of.

  • These partnerships will establish a close mentoring and other facilitation relation between the VET institution and the SME.
  • The VET institution’s academic staff will act as trainer and/or mentor in the partnership for selecting the appropriate performance improvement tools and vehicle problem resolution with the application of these tools.
  • Here, in function of the available tools of the Entrepreneurship Centre all kind of collaborative working can be envisaged using a range of methods tailored to suit the SME organisation. This approach is expected to build performance improvement capabilities and experience within the SME, as well as to produce a commercial impact for the SME.

The Entrepreneurship Centre initiative will increase the business engagement of the VET institution, the intensity of VET institution – SME cooperation which can lead to further enterprise impact in the local and regional economy.

These guidelines are to be offered for multiplication – at the closing meeting of the project - by dissemination. Evaluation measures of the setting up and running an Entrepreneurship Centre will be elaborated.

In the long run the Entrepreneurship Centres are expected to play the major role in the establishment of the national and international SME mentor networks. 
The next step of the establishment of the Entrepreneurship Centres is the preparation for the setting up in all partner countries in cooperation with the local partners. When the new mentor training programme will be finalised, it will be integrated to the system/framework of the Entrepreneurship Centres before the end of the project duration.

The key activities contributing to this deliverable:

  • O6/A1: Collecting good practices for Entrepreneurship Centres
  • O6/A2: Collecting the results of the previous projects and other developments in this field
  • O6/A3: Completion of the operation guide in English.