The frequent changes in today’s context (consumer’s needs, competitors, price of raw materials, legal constraints, CAP changes, sustainable development) leave managers of Very Small Enterprises (VSEs), especially those from the rural and agricultural sector, facing uncertainty and Strategy problems. Thus, the sustainability of the VSEs and their region is challenged. The STRAT-Training project, granted by the LEONARDO DA VINCI programme of the European Union, aims to develop a Strategy to help VSEs respond to this context.
Currently, training organisations in Europe which train advisers working with VSEs do not offer specific training in Strategy. VSE managers also tend to be very wary about applying management techniques and they are therefore left with no structured support to deal with the constantly changing context and to take into account Sustainable Development. Strategy can prepare VSEs to face these different problems. It is the only method for making decisions in the medium term for VSEs. There has been some innovative work in VSE management, but there is no complete Strategy training for VSE managers which brings together the previous work and includes sustainability. Therefore, the partners of STRAT-Training feel that a wider (transnational) level is necessary to share their tools, methods and techniques in order to benefit of each other. Partners want to contribute to a new programme, so that training organisations and Trainers from across Europe may obtain the complete and tested training contents for sustainable Strategy management support for VSEs.
Through the sharing of good practices, partners bring together management tools and the skills for using them, methods for mobilizing trainers, advisers and VSE managers to come to training sessions and a set of behavioural/attitude techniques for working with VSEs. They put particular emphasis on behaviour and attitude: trainers must be able to train advisers with the capacity and behavioural techniques for responding to each individual VSE (as they have different needs, a different context and will react differently).

The following stages take place during the project:
1. Explanation of the aims, utilisation and skills required for each tool, behavioural/attitude technique and mobilisation/marketing method
2. The Trainers apply and test the tools and techniques in real situations with VSEsLogo STRAT-Training
3. Evaluation and adaptation of the use of tools and skills by Trainers and their impact for VSE managers
4. The complete STRAT-Training programme will be promoted and disseminated

The outcomes will be:
• Common training content for trainers with material for vocational training (complete training manual)
• Mobilisation methods to attract target groups
• Trainers’ practical training experiences
• Qualification of STRAT-Training vocational skills (ECVET)

The transfer includes:
THE TOOL BOX (and skills to use it)
– AVEC® (APCA, France), Which decision is the most relevant for the VSE. AVEC® is a trademark but it will be made available for use by the partners of STRAT-Training.
– Risk Wheel, (DAAS, Denmark). How to asses risks and take caution and action?
– PERFEA, (SupAgro, France). How to help integrate sustainable development into strategic decisions?
– CYPCA, (ACPA, France). What is the real problem? What are the real needs?
– SAFARI, (EFA-Galicia, Spain). Which path to take, create an individual and personalised training itinerary for the VSE
– ICT and web-marketing tools: how to bring people to training sessions, how to demonstrate the necessity of the training programme
The French partners have developed techniques which allow Trainers (and advisers) to react and adapt to the specifications of each VSE.

A connection was made between this project and CASDAR Stratégie. The Wiki produced in the CASDAR project includes tools presented in STRAT-Training. See the wiki here.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication 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