Employability: Learning through International Entrepreneurship
The ELIE (Employability - Learning through International Entrepreneurship) project aimed to help individuals, including students, develop the skills needed for self-employment and to increase the mobility of individuals and SMEs enabling them to exploit opportunities overseas. This objective was accomplished by talking to immigrant entrepreneurs (entrepreneurs not born in the country in which they run their business) to find out about their experiences.
The information gained in this way was used to develop teaching and learning tools to share this information.
ELIE’s main activities were summarizes in the following:
- To examine the lived-experience of 200 immigrant entrepreneurs (50 in each country), to establish the key elements of success
- To find out what issues can act as barriers to success in order to develop policy recommendations that support immigrants’ entrepreneurship
- To work with immigrant–led SMEs in the four partner countries on a set of teaching and learning tools that will allow students and SMEs across
- the EU to benefit from the lived-experience of successful immigrant entrepreneursTo pilot the teaching and learning tools with 60 non-immigrant SME participants and 120 students
- To establish what are the most significant barriers to cross-cultural entrepreneurship amongst HE students so that we can make policy recommendations in order to reduce such barriers
- To ensure that the teaching and learning tools provide a model that can be adopted by HE institutions by incorporating it into HE courses allowing students to learn how to better access EU wide opportunities
- To develop and maintain an online learning and support resource accessible to SMEs and students across the EU
Project CoordinatorUniversity of Salford | UnitedKingdom | http://www.salford.ac.uk/
Project PartnersUniversity of Salford | UnitedKingdom | http://www.salford.ac.uk/
Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce & Industry | Greece | http://www.ebeth.gr/en
University of Turku | Finland | www.utu.fi/en/Pages/home.aspx
Ardin Software | Finland | http://www.ardinsoftware.fi/
Chapel Street Business Group | UnitedKingdom | www.chapelstreet.org
South East European Research Centre | Greece | http://www.seerc.org/index.php?option=com_entities&view=project&layout=details&id=29
The University of Lodz | Poland | http://www.uni.lodz.pl/
Contact PersonCarolyn Downs, ELIE Project Director, email@example.com | University of Salford
ELIE enableσ SMEs and students across the EU to benefit from the lived-experience of successful immigrant entrepreneurs. ELIE provides Higher Education (HE) Institutions across Europe with a new set of teaching and learning tools based upon research. These tools reinforce the link between studies and future skills and employment needs as well as providing accessible learning opportunities for SMEs to develop their levels of entrepreneurship and creative thinking. The tools were used within the pilot countries and later across Europe.
The Project in Greater Depth
There are many successful entrepreneurs across the EU, living and working in countries that are not the one in which they were born. By interviewing a diverse sample of these immigrant entrepreneurs the project team incorporated their lived-experience into the ELIE project. This wenabled the team develop learning materials that focus on the skills and capabilities needed by graduates and SMEs in the global marketplace.
The projectrun knowledge cafes with HE students, to establish what they see as the barriers to migration and entrepreneurship, and with immigrant entrepreneurs to establish the common elements of their experience.
All material is available at the project webstite http://www.elie-project.eu/
Teaching material in ELIE project is divided in two parts:
- Interviews with immigrant entrepreneurs.
The interviews collected across the all four participating countries drew a picture of quite satisfied entrepreneurs. The general prerequisites for successful business are naturally the same among immigrant and local entrepreneurs, but living between two cultures and the often accompanying difficulties in language and cultural skills set some extra challenges for the immigrant entrepreneurs.The entrepreneurs within the ELIE project arrived in their destination countries between 1960 and 2010, with the reasons for migration including education, marriage, fleeing persecution, economic migration and joining family. The interviewing stage of the ELIE project uncovered clear trends in the entrepreneurial life-courses of participants that have enabled three routes into entrepreneurship and distinct categories of international entrepreneurship to be developed. Some of these categories are also clearly applicable across entrepreneurship more generally, and offer generalised lessons for those seeking to support or develop entrepreneurship themselves or as a tool for economic growth within a town, city or country. Other categories noted in this research seem to be are particularly common amongst immigrant entrepreneurs. It is also the case that some individuals fit across routes and categories and these categories are by no means exhaustive.
Pupils can have access through the project website:
- Knowledge Entrepreneurs: Very highly skilled people with professional qualifications such as accountants, architects and lawyers and also people with degrees / higher degrees often working in technical areas such as green technologies, water engineering, design engineering and etc.
- Ethnic Food Entrepreneurs: This group make use of their background as the foundation for a business. There may be an argument for setting ethnic food as a separate category. The types of business within the food category include takeaway food, restaurants, ethnic food supermarkets and wholesalers and importers of ethnic foods. The wider category includes retailers of ethnic clothing such as Islamic dress (for own community), henna artists, ethnic hairdressing, Chinese medicine, martial arts schools.
- Ethnic Non-Food Entrepreneurs: This group make use of their background as the foundation for a business. There may be an argument for setting ethnic food as a separate category. The types of business within the food category include takeaway food, restaurants, ethnic food supermarkets and wholesalers and importers of ethnic foods. The wider category includes retailers of ethnic clothing such as Islamic dress (for own community), henna artists, ethnic hairdressing, Chinese medicine, martial arts schools
- Creative Entrepreneurs: Music, artistic and other cultural activities/skills used as a basis for a business and includes freelance musicians, public relations, advertising, jewellery design, graphic designers, painters, sculptors, dance teachers, music teachers and similar.
- Skilled Entrepreneurs: People who use a trade or skill such as furniture making, building, plumbing, carpentry, car mechanics, driving instructor, taxi driving, hairdressing, tailoring as the foundation of their business
- Language Entrepreneurs: Business based upon use of language skills and knowledge. Translating, teaching, coaching, setting examinations and owning language schools.
- Web-enabled Entrepreneurs: This group of entrepreneurs could be based anywhere in the world that has good and reasonably priced internet access. They use the internet as their main means of marketing, networking and doing business, often working in several countries. These web-enabled businesses are not restricted to those working in technologies, although these were well-represented within the category. The grouping also includes graphic design, ethnic and consultancy firms.
- Portfolio Entrepreneurs: Developing a varied business (or multiple micro-businesses) based on a range of skills, knowledge, interests and networks. This type of entrepreneur may combine traditional paid employment with freelance work, consultancy, production and sales of goods. These types of entrepreneur may ultimately develop one element of their business over the others
- Social Entrepreneurs: Not-for-profit community or social enterprises developed by immigrant entrepreneurs sometimes in the service of their own community initially but also to serve the wider community. These include support and advice services, education services and health services.
Available on line material on the following subject areas