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Event: Breaking Down Barriers to Enterprise


The knowledge exchange launch event of Eliemental took place in on December 1, 2015 at the University of Kent in Brussels and brought together a wide diversity of speakers and participants.  The Eliemental project has been three years in the making and has seen a partnership of universities, businesses and enterprise support agencies create an EU-wide qualification in enterprise and employability alongside electronic resources to support the delivery of the qualification.

This approach has gained tremendous momentum and has helped communities in the UK, Romania, Greece and Poland tackle a number of challenges within hyper-local areas, as evidenced by one trainee who commented recently: "Without the Eliemental enterprise training, I would not have done my business plan so well...I've tried it before on other courses and never managed to do it."  The project team made all of the resources available to attendees of this event either by distributing hard copies of the training material and by informing everyone that all the resources are available online.

 Food and drinks were provided. Workshops and discussion centred on the use of Community Access Points; safe-spaces within communities used to develop training, soft-skills sessions and entrepreneurial mind-sets.

Briefly, the speakers and their presentations were the following:


Dr Carolyn Downs –  Project Coordinator & Lecturer from Lancaster University, UK  who gave an overview of the project,  about the soft skills gap, & its impact on the enterprise decision-making process amongst social groups vulnerable to exclusion.  Also the role of communities in enterprise development was discussed in the closing session of the event.


Dr Chris Dows - Project Partner from Tameside Further Education College, UK who showcased how specialist training resources link soft skills to specific enterprise attributes, providing delegates with a detailed overview of the resources & materials designed, piloted & now available via the project virtual learning environment (VLE).


Ms Tebussum Rashid – Project Partner from  BTEG: Black Training & Enterprise Group, London, UK    and Prof. Adriana Grigorescu - Project Partner from Valahia University of Targoviste, Romania who presented the training delivery, reflections on enterprise education and the mentoring programme and further challenges across Europe.


Ms Julie Ward - Member of the European Parliament for North West England, UK who spoke on the importance of Entrepreneurship to the EU economy. How demographic & technological change increases the need for the development of community based enterprise, & how Eliemental, a community based model, might fit into the policy framework.


Dr Grażyna Wieteska - Project Partner from the University of Łódź, Poland who introduced mentoring materials and the role of the mentors in boosting motivation & confidence, overcoming initial hurdles, & building essential community & business networks.


Mr Gareth Parry - EU Representative from Remploy, England, UK whose presentation was focused on the issues faced by people with visible & invisible disabilities in gaining employment or moving into enterprise as a viable option & how Remploy, an international joint venture company, supports & provides health & employment services to people with disabilities & complex needs.


Ms Popi Sourmaidou – Project Partner from Ergani Center, Thessaloniki, Greece who together with Dr Carolyn Downs, initiated a discussion with conference delegates on issues around developing enterprise in their communities.

The video of the event can be found here.

Education and Culture Lifelong Learning Programme
© 2013 ELIEMENTAL Project
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.