The project

Start: 1/11/2021 – End: 30/11/2023
Project Reference: 2021-1-DE02-KA220-VET-000035651

SMEs have been the lifeblood of the European economy, accounting for more than two-thirds of the workforce and more than half of the economic value added (Eurostat). Yet the results of a recent McKinsey survey, conducted in August, 2020, of more than 2,200 SMEs in five European countries—France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom—indicate just how hard their prosperity has been hit by the COVID-19 crisis and more than half of those surveyed worry they might not be in business in 12 months. However, already before COVID pandemic, every year in the EU 200 000 firms go bankrupt, resulting in over 1.7 million people losing their jobs (EU Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers). Thus encouragement of continuing entrepreneurship, even after failure which is not due to dishonesty, is seen as essential to the health of Members States’ economies. Moreover, despite previous business failure, many ex-entrepreneurs would like to create a new business, but they face numerous obstacles in doing so. Many ex-entrepreneurs feel discouraged to re-start due to the stigma of failure and/or difficulties or discrimination faced after a bankruptcy.In addition, “failure” has an important secondary effect on entrepreneurship: many “would-be entrepreneurs” do not start a company because of their fear of the consequences of business failure.

Consequently, it produces negative effects on economic growth and employment creation in the European economy. EU Internal Market and SMEs supporting entrepreneurship already contains some references to second chance policies. However, until now this concept is almost completely absent from VET provision. Indeed, many times VET providers offer uniform services to both failed and first time entrepreneurs while different situations should require a different approach. Following, the main aim of “Give them a second chance (G2C)” is to support the development of second-chance entrepreneurship attitude and initiative and provide a path for entrepreneurs whose first businesses have failed or been not successful to re-enter the market. G2C specific objectives:

• Encourage failed and ex-entrepreneurs to learn from their past experience by providing them with the right tools for understanding reasons behind their failure, their entrepreneurial potential and attitude. The Online self-assessment tool (PR2), that is an online interactive tool, will help them to identify their strengths and weaknesses, with potential of improvement for the purpose of continuous learning.

• Support failed and ex-entrepreneurs in developing their competences for re-build a successful business. This will be achieved through the use of innovative digital education contents and digital technologies, partners will create an online course in the forms of e-learning modules (PR3) accessible through an Online Platform (PR1).

• Provide VET teachers, educators, trainers and mentors with a full set of educational resources for helping and mentoring failed and ex-entrepreneurs (e.g. Manual to be a mentor (PR4)).

• Promote and support the creation of SMEs support policies by policy makers, for facilitating the return of failed and ex-entrepreneurs back to business. This will be achieved through the realization of the Guide  – How to keep entrepreneurs healthy and alive (PR5).

G2C will bring together a consortium of partners involved in VET and enterprise education such as SMEs, NGOs and Chambers of Commerce committed to provide a positive, friendly and incentive environment for second-chance entrepreneurial activity. G2C will have two main target groups:

-Failed entrepreneurs (who went bankrupt with their company and/or are in the process of restructuring) and ex-entrepreneurs (who did not fail but close their activity due to no success).
-Mentors, teachers, trainers, educators working on VET centers/institutes, business association/chamber of commerce, vocational schools and NGOs providing VET and entrepreneurial education.

G2C foresees the realization of five Project PRs:

  • Online Platform (PR1). An online platform will be set up, using open source software, in order to create an online space as connection for project target groups and for containing the Online self-assessment tool (PR2) and e-learning modules (PR3).
  • The Online self-assessment tool (PR2) will help failed and ex-entrepreneurs identify their strengths and weaknesses, with potential of improvement for the purpose of continuous learning. Through the self-assessment quiz and spider diagram, failed and ex-entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to understand and self-reflect on the reasons behind their downfall, learning from their past experiences, and educate themselves towards a more successful future.
  • E-learning modules(PR3). The PR3 will be an online course which will help entrepreneurs to acquire relevant knowledge to prevent from crisis and to re-start their business activity in case they failed in the past. The PR3 will be accessible through the online platform (PR1) and users (entrepreneurs) before starting the e-learning will have to take the Online self-assessment tool (PR2).
  • The Manual to be a mentor for second chance entrepreneurship (PR4) will be a comprehensive tool targeted at professionals working on VET centers, chamber of commerce, vocational schools and NGOs willing to become mentors for failed and ex-entrepre neurs and effectively help them to return successfully to economic activity.
  • The Guide – How to keep entrepreneurs healthy and alive (PR5) will target policymakers at local, regional, national and European level. The PR5 will focus on informing policymakers about failed and ex-entrepreneurs as a possible target group for SMEs support policies, proposing possible mechanisms, which can be used to prevent entrepreneurs from failing, help to smooth bankruptcy procedures, and facilitating the return to business.

Two mobility activities (C1, C2). Following:

  • Blended mobility for VET learners (C1). (BM, C1). The BM (C1) (30 participants) will happen in two phases (virtual and physical mobility) respond to the main objective to pilot the different e-learning modules (PR3) and so provide a proper assessment and feedback of it, in view of their official release in the Online platform (PR1) and use in VET and entrepreneurial education field.
  • Staff training event (TE, C2). The TE (C2) (24 participants) respond to the main objective to pilot the Manual (PR4) and so provide a proper assessment and feedback of the different methods and activities in it, in view of its official release and use in the field of VET education.

Twelve multiplier events. The G2C partnership will organize twelve local conferences (E1 to E12) of 1-day each in all partner countries.