One of the main activities carried out within the project ‘DigiNET: Digitalization and social media for adult employment’ was the organisation of an International training with the aim to make adult learners confident on how to use social media and ICT for the creation of e-enterprises digital identity as well as for the promotions of entrepreneurial spirit of adult learners.

The international training was organised in Athens, Greece from 27th August to 2nd September 2018. Each project partner (Ex.Act Malta – Malta, Electronic Compass – Greece, Esmovia – Spain, ZAT - Zinev Art Technologies – Bulgaria and Kairos Europe – UK) carefully selected five adult learners (25 in total), to have a practical international experience using non-formal and informal approach.

The international training was organised in the form of blended learning. Before the training participants were given the opportunity to familiarise with the training package developed by the partners on the following topics:

-    How to set up the digital identity of an e-enterprise,

-    How to monitor an e-enterprise,

-    How to conduct an E-customer analysis, and

-    How to create of content for an e-enterprise.

Apart from that, each partner organisation prepared two real case scenarios with entrepreneurs (video interviews) who were willing to share the positive aspects as well as some challenges of their experience going online with their business. This was done both to make the content of the training more tangible to the participants and to show them examples from other people in their same situation.  

     

 The first day of the training was dedicated to the presentation of the project and the project participants. A range of icebreakers was prepared to support team building and integration of participants. After the initial activities, the project team members took the opportunity to present the training package and answer some open questions; this was followed by a session in which all participants watched the above mentioned interviews with the entrepreneurs. The experience shared in the videos served as a basis for a group work in which the participants had the task to analyse one selected company and its digital presentation. At the end of this activity the participants had to prepare a SWOT analysis that helped them to use the acquired knowledge to assess all aspects of a successful e-enterprise critically.

During the second day of the training, participants were asked to use their knowledge and experience to create virtual companies. The project team formed three groups and assigned each team a specific sector to focus on, in line with the participants preferences regarding the industry in which they would like to start or develop further their own business. The three selected sectors were: hospitality, fashion and art. In the first part of the day, participants thought about the business they would like to develop and prepared a business plan for their companies. The group focusing on the hospitality sector developed a business plan for an international restaurant named Picca Delicius based in London; the fashion team decided to open the international second-hand shop of branded clothes BiB – Bring it Back; and the team working on the art sector business went for an art gallery and music venue Bau, based in Lisbon. In the afternoon each group presented their business ideas to the other participants and had the opportunity to receive feedbacks and comments on their work. The day ended with a ‘cultural night’ which has been organised to give participants the opportunity to portray their countries through some exciting stories, dances, foods and drinks. Dances from Malta and Bulgaria, Greek Mastika, almonds from Valencia, cheddar cheese and Marmite form the UK, halva, Bulgarian rose petal jam and many other delicacies helped participants to develop strong connections and significantly improved cooperation for the next three days.

On the third day, the participants stayed in the same groups and started to think about the content for their e-enterprises, as well as to place the content on websites developed just for training purposes. Every group was supported by facilitators who helped them to complete their task.

 

The fourth day was all about social media. At the beginning of the day, representatives of Greek company Gov2U shared their broad experience in the sector with the participants, describing some of the challenges they faced and the solutions they implemented to solve such problems. After a presentation about social media and their importance for e-enterprises, participants were again divided into groups – the same as the previous days – with the task to develop content for three major social networks: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. A particular challenge assigned to the participants was to animate the other participants to follow their profile. Finally, at the end of the day, all teams had to present their work to the other participants, as well as the project team and were given feedback from both.

 

The fifth and final day of the training was used for summarising the participants’ impressions, and for general feedback on the work done from both sides – the participants and the project team. The working part of the day was concluded with the issue of the certificates for those who took part in the training and a cultural visit to Athens followed in the afternoon.

This practical international experience gave the participants an overview and framework for further personal development and made them more confident on how to use social media and ICT for creating an e-enterprise’s digital identity. What is more, according to the participants’ first impressions, one of the essential side benefits of the training was an opportunity to spend five days together with entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs to be from different European countries, share experiences and check new ideas.  We hope they will use the network they developed as a support in the very next future.

 

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