Within the framework of the project "European Partnership for Social Inclusion and Creation of Skills for Women Entrepreneurship E-learning", contract number 2018-1-BG01-KA203-048016, funded by the Erasmus + program, KA 2, Higher Education Sector in the period 01.07.2019 - 12.07.2019 A pilot training of 30 women from Bulgaria and 30 women from Italy took place in London. The project was implemented by three partner countries - the beneficiary of the project is the "Tsenov Academy of Economics- Svishtov", led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Svetoslav Iliichovski, and the partner organizations are European Strategic Partnerships Ltd. (UK) and Euroform RFS (Italy).
The training seminar aimed at acquiring participants with practical knowledge, skills and competences in the field of entrepreneurship, which will help them to start their own business in the future, as well as to improve their communication skills and participation in intercultural environment. All participants in the training seminar were selected through a rigorous selection procedure and criteria approved by the three partner organizations. The working language of the training was English.
During the training seminar, the participants were introduced to the main features of entrepreneurship, in particular women's entrepreneurship, the entrepreneurial process, the requirements for structuring a business plan, the possibilities for financing a business, etc. In addition to getting acquainted with the theoretical background in the field of entrepreneurship, the participants developed a business plan on a predefined topic, by distributing the lottery principle of Bulgarian and Italian women in teams of six participants. For the fuller absorption of the content, an appropriate learning environment was provided to support the writing of the business plan, by alternating the lecture part, followed by a practical one. This allowed the teams to unite briefly around the basic idea of their business on each of the downloaded topics (e-commerce for perfumery products, production and trade in furniture, development of restaurant business, environmental protection and compost processing, etc.) and focus on developing each part of the business plan.
The team work continued for one week as participants sought to prepare the key elements of the business plan - introduction, presentation of the basic business idea, analysis of the market and identifying competitors, market segmentation and opening of unoccupied niches, defining the profile of users, developing an operational plan for action, financing and business efficiency.
Business plans have been developed with presentations reflecting key innovative ideas, mainly focused on healthy eating, saving endless resources, improving the quality and increased use of electronic technologies in the production and commercial processes, as well as in maintaining contacts with consumers, waste treatment and environmental protection and social inclusion of disadvantaged people.
The presentation of the business plans took place on July 10, 2019, with participants applying various attractive techniques to attract the attention of the audience. After each team presented their business idea, each team received reviews highlighting both strengths and opportunities to improve business plans and presentations. On July 11, 2019, the final test was held, and certificates were distributed to all participants.
The theoretical and practical training was varied by a prepared cultural program, which included visits to various landmarks and attractions in London. This helped to further unite the teams before the final finalization of the business plans and the preparation of the presentations. The more iconic sites visited during the cultural routes organized for them included The National Gallery - Admiralty Arch - The Mall - Buckingham Palace - St James's Park - Parliament Square - The Church of St Margaret - Westminster Abbey - The Palace of Westminster - Big Ben - Westminster Bridge - County Hall - The London Eye - Queen Elizabeth Hall - The National Theatre - Tate Modern - Millennium Bridge - Shakespeare's Globe - Winchester Palace - Borough Market - Golden Hinde - London Bridge - HMS “Belfast” - The Shard - City Hall - Tower Bridge - Tower of London - The Monument - St. Paul’s Cathedral.
In general, the main benefits of short-term training can be summarized as follows:
- Introduction to the theoretical nature of the entrepreneurial idea and business planning.
- Exchange of experience between Bulgarian and Italian students, as well as sharing practical skills by English trainers.
- Working in an international team and working in a collaborative environment.
- Cultural, linguistic, ethnic, religious and other integration between partners from three countries.