The EU-funded project MobiliseSME, managed by European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME and its members, aimed at exploring and evaluating the interest in and benefits of an exchange program for employees of SMEs in Europe. It did so through a research phase and a pilot exchange scheme that lasted eight months, from November 2016 to June 2017. One of the reasons behind the project was to provide a new mechanism for SMEs to explore opportunities for business abroad, but with the added value of training their staff with new knowledge and skills.
MobiliseSME’s pilot scheme allowed small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe to send one of their employees to work in another company abroad for a period between two weeks and two months or to host the employee of a foreign company for a similar time span. The exchange always included a form of training for either the travelling employee or the staff of the hosting company.
About 400 companies registered on the MobiliseSME Matchmaking Platform that allowed them to find partners for an exchange. This lead to 54 exchanges taking place, spanning across 23 different sectors and 16 countries.
The feedback of participants clearly shows the added value of this scheme: 91% of sending companies and 95% of the hosting companies were happy with the matched needs and competences of employees, 90% of companies stated that their cross-border business will develop thanks to the exchange and 75% said they will be able to introduce new products and services. 81% of the travelling employees felt it contributed to their professional development, and believe that their acquired skills will benefit the company where they work as well as providing them with better career opportunities.
The project just explored an idea, but it is clear from the results that it would be a missed opportunity not to continue with a mobility scheme for SMEs in Europe. Now it is the moment to optimise such a scheme, possibly with another project scaling up the initial work of MobiliseSME and with the goal of setting up a permanent program for companies – an Erasmus for SMEs and their employees which would help them to really take advantage of the potential of the Single Market.
Project website: www.mobilisesme.eu
Matchmaking platform: http://matchmaking.mobilisesme.eu/ - the matchmaking platform is still open and can be used to organise cross-border exchange of employees of SMEs, though financial support is no longer available.
If you want to read more about the impact of the project, you can download the complete Project Evaluation Report here (English only).
Finally you can also have a look at the MobiliseSME Fact Sheet (English only)
Picture Gallery and Video from MobiliseSME Final Conference:
Project “Mobilities for professionals and qualified employees of MSMEs” MobiliseSME, co-financed by the EaSI Programme (PROGRESS) of the European Union, 2016-2017.