Enhancing SMEs’ Resilience After Lock Down: IDP European Consultants joined the online Kick-Off Meeting of ESMERALD

On June 23, 2021, IDP European Consultants joined the Kick-Off Meeting of ESMERALD, a Project co-funded by the Erasmus Plus Programme of the European Commission, which brings together seven Partners from six countries (Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Poland, and Spain). The KOM was held in online mode due to COVID-19 restrictions.

COVID-19 is transforming the world and no socio-economic models from the past can give examples, lessons learned and solutions to move forward.

The impact on the economy is unknown, but it’s going to be huge. The most vulnerable are the Small/Medium Enterprises: a March 27 OECD Report (“COVID & SME Policy Responses”) indicated that the impact on EU SMEs is already strong. A survey of Polish SMEs shows:

30% of SMEs feared a decrease in sales and worker availability in the next 3 months;

40% experienced increased costs and reduced sales;

27.5% already having cash flow problems.

Post-pandemic EU economy will be uncertain and volatile: neither the entrepreneurship support nor the VET systems will be ready to cope with the challenge and provide suitable and operational guidance, tools and training in response to the crisis.

SMEs will need innovative and relevant training that will take into account the renovated risks and will empower them to face the new challenges as well as to reap the benefits stemming from new opportunities. SMEs will need new skills, competences and operational tools to better operate (or simply operate) in a new business environment.

In such context, ESMERALD provides tangible and timely training solutions to those needs as it will:

  1. Develop an OER platform to deliver the ESMERALD training to SMEs and VET providers in eLearning and blended modalities;
  2. Take stock of the actual impact of COVID-19 on the real economy, map the specific impact on SMEs, screen policy and industry response to pinpoint the specific needs of SMEs in post-pandemic economy;
  3. Develop the ESMERALD training on innovative business models and entrepreneurial skills and competences for SMEs to strive in post-pandemic economy. The training will be made available for FREE and Open Access in six languages to enhance replicability, sustainability and impact;
  4. Develop guidelines to promote the adoption and use of ESMERALD in all entrepreneurship support and VET systems possible across the EU;
  5. Advance evidence-based policy making for SME resilience with the ESMERALD Manifesto as a policy input for decision makers.

During the meeting, Partners introduced themselves in turn. Then the Consortium as a whole discussed about the overall project implementation schedule, defining timelines and respective duties in the following months. The ESMERALD official website will represent a repository of project’s outputs, results, news and contacts. A mapping activity will follow in order to identify the main trends, issues, best practices and policy support systems in the countries represented in the Consortium. This mapping activity will culminate in a final report on the state of the art about COVID-19’s impact on micro and SMEs and will represent the basis for the development of training courses and tools.

In the Project, IDP brings its consolidated experience and expertise as a private provider of VET and adult education services. IDP has 25 years of experience in international and cross-border collaboration in the field of promotion of entrepreneurship and employability. IDP will greatly contribute to the technical and operational activities of the Project carrying out analysis and stock-taking activities of the Italian VET ecosystem pertaining to the project; contributing to structuring modules, developing methodologies for effective teaching and learning, materials and content.

For further information on ESMERALD and other IDP initiatives:




The Report on training needs of rural micro-enterprises is now available on the MICRO website!

The Report consolidates the findings of primary and secondary research that partners carried out in 6 countries to gauge the training needs and preferences of micro-enterprises located in rural areas. The report is available at The MICRO project (Enhancing Competitiveness of micro-enterprises in Rural Areas) will develop training tailored on the needs of micro-enterprises in rural areas to enhance their competitiveness. The training will then be made available in multilingual versions and for free access on the dedicated Open Educational Resource: MICRO brings together experienced partners from six countries (Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia and Spain) coordinated by Irish Rural Link (IRL), with extensive experience in EU-funded projects. This project composite report draws on a range of European literature to confirm that all over Europe micro-enterprises are the backbone of employment and sustainable development outside of the public sector and are key actors to ensuring economic growth, innovation, job creation and social integration in the EU. While micro-enterprises social and economic role is well known, micro-enterprises and micro-entrepreneurs are not well researched, understood, or recognised for their contribution. Seldom the rural dimension is taken into account when defining training programmes for micro-entrepreneurs. The MICRO project has collected primary research to identify the propensity of rural micro-entrepreneurs to engage in training to grow their micro-enterprises. From the research much has been learned about the reasons why rural micro-entrepreneurs do or do not engage. The research also identifies training topics that are priorities for rural micro-entrepreneurs. These findings underpin the preparation of rural micro-entrepreneur focused open access training that will be piloted by the MICRO project partners during 2017-18.   logo_micro
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