Update on DIFME Progress
Published by DIFME on 15-May-2019
After the meeting in Valletta the DIFME consortium is working on the important task of defining the audience to address and appropriately target them using different communication channels. In the meantime, a dissemination strategy was identified and the dissemination plan has been uploaded on the Consortium intranet.
The basis of the proposed project had already been developed with consultation sessions carried out with micro businesses, in order to gather a perspective about the practical skills with focus on internationalisation to identify in what way, and which digital skills are necessary to build steps to internationalise businesses. Partners have clearly identified the need for entrepreneurs having hands on accesible tools to evaluate the performance of their entrepris, the further development of both internatinalisation skills as well as the digital skills and the clear need to liaise and communicate with other entrepreneurs based on literature, other project results, and making consultation sessions with students, start up entrepreneurs and companies.
The main conclusions of the consultation exercise corroborated with the data of the literature:
- digital skills are determinant in this sector;
- there is a gap between what information is available and what is essential for a young entity to survive, which can be overcome by a strong articulation a clear and comprehensive understanding of I) financial literacy and ii) access to knowledge related to how to internationalise a business iii) access to practical information as in the proposed SME HUB.
Therefore the first work plan set the conditions for further research and deeper analysis, enabling an accurate disciplines development with learning outcomes revised according to the entrpreneur needs. A survey targeting 350 entrepreneurs was defined, translated and implemented with the objective to assess in which areas microentrepreneurs feel they lack guidance and knowledge . We are now in the process of dissseminating this to the target audience on a face to face and online basis. Furthermore tutors and mentors teaching /working with entrepreneurs have been identified and interviewed to corraborate the results of the research.
DIFME is also including the comparison of the different HEIS learning models in practice, identifying pros and cons of each approach, and setting the grounds for common industry oriented learning outcomes based on a closer cooperation between HEIs and entrepreneurs. This analysis has been coordinated by Dr Leonie Baldachino on behalf of University of Malta and Ms Kristina Buhagiar , a PHD student and researcher at the University of Malta.
This work plan is being led by Inqubator Leeuwarden ( Netherlands) working with University of Malta, and all the partners were involved in liaising and researching feedback from entrepreneurs, to analyse the existing situation and training needs, as well as the potential effectiveness of e-learning and online tools used for the training path both start ups as well as experienced ones.