It is time to introduce you to a new collaboration between European SMEs in the framework of the MobiliseSME programme:
Gonzalo Palenzuela, Spanish freelancer and owner of Silentium Piano, has decided to participate in MobiliseSME as Sending Company (SC) to collaborate for 3 months with a Host Company (HC) from Belgium and specialised in importing pianos.
What are they seeking by participating in MobiliseSME?
Gonzalo is a self-employed worker specialised in piano maintenance and restoration. For him, this collaboration primarily means expanding his client portfolio and being able to offer high quality services not only in his country (Spain), but in most of Europe.
For the HC, it would mean hosting a self-employed person specialised in the repair and restoration of grand pianos that may offer an added value to its staff, by sharing and exchanging their knowledge, in particular on piano restoration techniques.
Both European SMEs will work together mainly to:
– Conduct market research;
– Exchange knowledge and practices (training);
– And internationalise their products, with the main focus on restoration of pianos.
The activities contain an important part of job shadowing.
What results do they expect from their collaboration?
Both SC and HC expect to have acquired enough knowledge to complete the restoration of a total of 20 grand pianos, and learnt new techniques on mechanics of pianos, the installation of silence systems, keyboards, as well as the regulation and intonation process to optimize the sound qualities of instruments.
However, depending on their experience and role in MobiliseSME, each company expects different results for their particular case:
For the Host Company
– Learn new techniques on mechanics of pianos;
– Introduce the partnership of both companies in the Belgian market;
– Assess future collaborations with the SC, in both the Belgian and the Spanish market.
For the Sending Company
– Improve skills and knowledge of restoration techniques;
– Expand its market in the host country (Belgium) and networking;
– Improve selling, research and language skills.
At MobiliseSME, we are convinced that our participants will achieve amazing results and will benefit from this collaboration throughout their careers.
In one of our previous posts, we explained that there are tools such as Re-open EU that are very useful for labour mobility within the EU in times of coronavirus.
Recently, the European Commission has approved a new system that will make it possible to provide health information in a simple and secure way, and which will allow for better mobility management in the context of the current health crisis.
What is the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
It is a digital certificate that will facilitate safe free movement of citizens in the European Union during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will prove that a person has either:
– Been vaccinated against COVID-19
– Received a negative test result
– Recovered from COVID-19
Countries can start issuing and using it already and it will become available in all EU Member States as of 1 July 2021.
During the event, FEH participated in a working group comprising companies in the cybersecurity sector from all over Spain, but especially from the region of Castilla y León. The working group discussed various local, regional and national initiatives that promote training and talent retention in companies.
MobiliseSME can help the development of competences, skills and knowledge in the cybersecurity sector, through training stays in other EU companies. In addition, the current context of COVID-19 is serving to redirect strategies and train in skills needed for the new reality.
Thus, MobiliseSME contributes to SMEs’ talent retention and attraction strategies by:
1) Creating an internal incentive for growth and continuous training within the company;
2) And attracting new European talent for obtaining new synergies and knowledge (processes, management, innovation, products…).
In this working group, FEH shared space with AETICAL (Federation of ICT Companies Associations of Castilla y León), CONETIC (Spanish Confederation of ICT Companies) and Fundación Goodjob, specialised in the integration of people. Other companies, universities, associations and clusters of the sector also attended.
MobiliseSME would like to thank AEI for the opportunity to give us a voice at their event by allowing us to present our programme, demonstrating that their initiatives can also be ours. We hope this is the beginning of a fruitful collaboration.
The 10th of March 2021 was a key date in the consolidation of the European Single Market.
On that day, the official launch event of the MobiliseSME Programme –a new European business mobility programme for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises– took place.
What is MobiliseSME?
Funded by the EURES Axis of the European Commission’s EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), MobiliseSME is the first mobility programme specifically designed for SMEs. Based on a successful pilot project implemented between 2015 and 2017, the programme fosters international collaborations between European SMEs by funding employee secondments in another European country.
Thus, the main objective of MobiliseSME is to boost the internationalisation of European SMEs, to improve their competitiveness, and to establish a common methodology at the EU level for mobility schemes for SME employees.
In short, the programme aims to harness the full potential of the European Single Market, the free mobility of workers as well as one of its most valuable assets, SMEs, which represent 99% of EU companies.
During the webinar, the programme was introduced to the attending companies and business representatives, pointing out the opportunities and benefits it offers, including strengthening their international collaboration, knowledge, and skills, making them more resilient to future challenges.
The event –held online– was attended by a total of 153 participants, including companies from different sectors at the European level as well as business associations, incubators, and public and private entities representing European enterprises (Local Development Agencies, Trade Offices abroad, and territorial directorates). It was also attended by the various Local Contact Points (experts on mobility and business in the EU) and representatives of the two main business and SME branches at the EU level, the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion and the Directorate for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship & SMEs (DG EMPL and DG GROW).
Likewise, Marta Templado (CEO of Turiart) and Claudio Cristofori (owner of J&K Jabalito & Karma Viaggi), shared their experience and success story as a result of their participation in the programme. Both companies were in Valencia and Bologna, respectively, with the objective of designing new tourist routes, training in languages, and establishing new contacts. Their business collaboration has achieved great results.
A new opportunity for companies in difficulties
In recent years, the EU has developed several programmes and initiatives to support workers’ mobility and business-to-business collaborations, especially among SMEs.
Until now, there has been no specific programme to support employees to move to other companies outside their own country and exchange knowledge. This has resulted in the creation of MobiliseSME.
In the current context, where many companies are rethinking their business models, MobiliseSME allows them to gain perspective and gain new skills and knowledge. Thanks to MobiliseSME, companies can redirect and rethink their strategies, especially those severely affected by the constraints of the current health crisis.
That is Marta Templado’s opinion, CEO of Turiart and participant in the programme: “When I heard about the MobiliseSME programme, I saw it as an opportunity to get to know the Italian market better, learn a new language and get future clients, especially now that everything is at a standstill in Spain”.
In the same vein, José Enrique Val, EU Project Manager of Fundación Equipo Humano pointed out that “the MobiliseSME programme has become a new impulse for European SMEs, as it is allowing them to reformulate their way of doing business as well as to develop and update the skills and knowledge necessary for the post-COVID reality”.
Alfonso Cadenas, EU Project Coordinator of Fundación Equipo Humano highlighted “the importance of the strategic approach to the internationalisation of SMEs through the development of the competences and skills of their employees, while the MobiliseSME programme can achieve great synergies with other regional, national and European programmes as in most cases it is complementary”.
The European Commission representatives, Mr. Denis Genton (DG EMPL) and Mr. Crispin Waymouth (DG GROW) agreed that the MobiliseSME programme adds to “initiatives that strengthen labour mobility within the European Union” as well as “the resilience of SMEs and the autonomous strategy of the European Single Market”.
Advantages of participating in MobiliseSME
The programme offers international technical and financial assistance to SMEs by organizing and supporting short secondments (1 to 6 months) in companies in other EU countries. These secondments are co-financed by the European Commission with monthly grants of up to €1,100.
At the same time, MobiliseSME also offers tailor-made sessions on how to internationalize products, so that participating companies can take advantage of the extensive networks to which the Local Contact Points belong, thus increasing their visibility on a European scale.
The programme also provides SMEs with various tools and information to find business partners in the EU, to expand their business, products, and services, as well as to improve the knowledge, skills, and competencies of their staff.
How to participate in the programme
Participating in MobiliseSME is easy: start by visiting the official MobiliseSME website. In addition to SMEs, freelancers, self-employed and one-person companies can also participate. The next step would be to contact one of the Local Contact Points in the EU. They guide, register, and support SMEs during their participation in the programme.
It is important to remember that registrations are allowed on the matchmaking platform until mid-2022.
MobiliseSME is a business mobility pilot programme that seeks to strengthen European SMEs’ skills and capacities development, by supporting short-term cross-border secondments for their staff.
This programme follows an approach that combines learning objectives for employees, managers, and (co-)owners of companies and international business opportunities for SMEs.
Many businesses see in this programme the opportunity to strengthen their international collaboration, to join forces, and to adapt their business to the challenges that are yet to come.
During this online event, companies and business associations will have the opportunity to discover how the EU funded initiatives can be a great added value for them, not only by helping to boost their growth and expansion in the EU but also the skills of their employees.
The webinar will gather experts in internationalization, mobility of workers, SMEs, and EU bodies, in order to discuss the current situation of SMEs, their role in the EU single market and its opportunities.
It will also be a chance for SMEs to meet face to face with other counterparts and build up new collaborations. The event will act as a meeting and matchmaking point for future business opportunities.
SPEAKERS AND FURTHER DETAILS
Local Contact Points (chambers of commerce, incubators, business associations, and experts in mobility and business at the EU level) from the MobiliseSME programme will attend the webinar.
Moreover, the webinar will also be attended and presented by representatives of the two main branches of business and SMEs in the EU, concretely:
– A representative of Labour Mobility, Free Movement of Workers, EURES Unit from the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, DG EMPL;
– And a representative of SME Internationalisation Unit from the Directorate- General of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, DG GROW.
The webinar will be held in English.
You can check the full programme of the webinar here.
You can sign up for this webinar through this reply form.
The first secondment carried out under the Mobilise SME programme involves two companies: one from Spain and the other from Italy.
The working relationship between our participants began in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
Both are taking advantage of the current situation in the tourism sector to create new synergies, collaborations and projects for the “post-COVID” stage, thanks to their participation in the Mobilise SME programme, which gives them the opportunity to continue growing professionally.
Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by COVID-19, the MobiliseSME programme has decided to provide as much information as possible to secure all secondments and mobilities. In that regard, Mobilise SME will not define any new travel restrictions in addition to those that already exist at national level.
Participants need to follow national advice and consult the website of their respective national ministries (Ministry of Health and/or Ministry of Foreign Affairs…), for up-to-date travel restrictions.
In addition, participants need to make sure they have a valid medical insurance, whatever their destination, in accordance to the programme rules.
For more information on individual Member States’ travel rules, Partner Organisations might suggest participants to visit the European Commission’s dedicated webpage Re-open EU.
In case of major new outbreaks in any of the participating countries, MobiliseSME will provide assistance and information so to ensure an adequate stay.
Some of the first discussions covered topics such as the main rules: who can participate, under which circumstances and the working documents that the main target group (Small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs) should work on, etc.
In that regard, one of the first decisions was to cover all definitions of an SME in the context of the project: SMEs, freelancers, self-employed or liberal professions that have a VAT number or similar registration numbers that certifies there is an economic activity. Larger companies may participate only to host employees.
The consortium also decided about the logo of the programme, the ways to communicate with SMEs, the current situation of coronavirus around the EU and how this might affect their participation.
The different types of projects or collaborations that would be eligible were also discussed. Collaborations between SMEs will cover different topics such as:
Market research or marketing strategies;
Development of products and services (innovation R&D);
Internationalisation, search of new clients and trade opportunities (Foreign Trade);
Training (Knowledge Transfer);
Joint research activities;
Strengthening pre-existent collaborations or projects;
MobiliseSME is the second pilot project that will be implemented and will test intra mobility of employees and workers within the European Union over two years (2020-2022).
The main objective is to support short-term cross-border secondments (from 1 to 6 months) for employees, managers, and/or (co-)owners, in particular from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Within these secondments, employees from SMEs will have the opportunity to develop skills and capacities with other peers, as well as for companies to enhance their business either by establishing new contacts abroad, by strengthening their already existing partnerships, or by developing new ideas or technologies.
Other more specific objectives are:
Boost the internationalisation of EU SMEs, their products, and services by providing the tools, information, and tailored strategies that match their needs and peculiar features.
Enhance the competitiveness of EU SMEs by providing them with a scheme that can open them to new markets and establish new partnerships within the rules of the European Single Market.
Establish a common methodology at the EU level for a mobility scheme for SME staff.
Raising awareness of the benefits and gains that can be obtained by SMEs under internationalisation process.
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