The event was also streamed live on the internet. Click here for the programme, presentations and the videos!
This March saw leaders from a key European training pilot project arrive at the Harlow Enterprise Hub for a three day conference hosted by Academy of Learning Ltd, on a strategic initiative that will affect VSEs (Very Small Enterprises) throughout Europe. Linda Mockford commented “This was a great opportunity for us to enrich the Strategic Leadership and Management training we already offer by enabling our clients free access to tried and tested strategic management tools that will help them develop key strategies to grow their business. Here in the UK and particularly in Essex we have a strong culture of Business Support through the Chamber networks and Growth Accelerator initiatives, however this is not the case in many parts of Europe. Our partners in Greece and France are finding these tools particularly useful in changing the mindset of some small business owners who are seeing the benefit of strategic planning and problem solving. We are also benefitting from making these tools available to Business Advisors in the UK.” Find out more: STRAT Press Release post Harlow.
Topager is a small business and research initiative about rooftop gardens in Paris. They have an experimental garden on the roof of AgroParisTech and offer their concept to restaurants, businesses, health institutes across Paris. They are also involved in many research projects to improve their concept. The STRAT-Training partnership visited Topager during their first meeting in December 2013 to apply the strategic tools they were learning to a real case study. We chose Topager because it is linked to agriculture and training, and you also have a very nice view of Paris! The partners split into pairs and each took a part of a tool they had already learned. Partners met with two entrepreneurs from Topager and asked the questions, as if “in situ” as an adviser with a VSE/farmer. The results of this exercise were presented back to the group. The trainers felt as if they had better grasped how the tools work thanks to this practical experience. Topager.com
The 4th STRAT-Training transnational meeting was held in Chania, Crete, by the Technical University of Crete (TUC- partner of the consortium). It took place on the 3rd-6th November 2014 and was hosted in partnership with Chania’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The meeting was divided into 3 sessions:
- a public session on the EU CAP priorities and the current situation of Greek agriculture presented by Dimitrios Melas, general secretary of agricultural policy and international relations from the Rural development and Food Ministry of Greece and Nikolaos Giannoylis, member of the Regional Unit of Chania for subjects related to the primary sector. This official session was important in order to present the aims of the project and the LEONARDO programme, and how this fits into both the Greek and European context. The project was presented by the lead partner and the representative members of the consortium.
- a presentation of the STRAT-Training pilot implementation in Greece (Work Package 2 Result N°5) by 6 post graduate students under the responsibility of the TUC university- Nikolaos Matsatsinis, and celebrating 30 years of excellence (1984/2014) of the institution.
- a workshop on ending Work Package 2 and preparing Work Package 3 on the dissemination of the deliverables of the project and preparing the next transnational meeting in the UK in March.
On the 7th and 8th October, 32 agricultural advisers from Denmark went to Rennes in France to meet a group of their French counterparts. They were there to share their experiences and methods on strategic agricultural advisory.
The advisers spent 2 days together, including visiting the Gaec des Hautes Marettes- a nearby group of farms which has multiple productions and are constantly working on improving their performance and techniques.
Both the Danish and French advisers were able to draw a valuable experience from this event. For example, the Danish advisers remarked that they didn’t have many tools and techniques for tackling farms with several diverse productions and activities, and the French advisers realised that elements such as economics and the ‘farmer as a manager’ were often lacking from their advice.
Throughout the project there will be several visits and exchanges where advisers can ask questions and get first-hand information about how advisory in agriculture, and especially strategy, innovation and sustainable development, is structured and carried out in other European countries.
The partners of STRAT-Training project are meeting together this week in Copenhagen, hosted by the partner DAAS, in the National Headquarters of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council.
There is a lot of work to do but the exchange is offering a wealth of learning opportunities.
The training of the members of the project on the main tools is coming to an end, but the meeting gives the group the opportunity to discover new ones too. The Technical University of Crete has presented the tools: the MARKEX Methodology and System to support the decision-maker in the various phases of new product development process, the MUSA Method to measure customer satisfaction and a Skills Evaluator.
DAAS has presented Dynamic Strategy, a method which is used by almost all the advisers in Denmark working on the strategy of farms, as well as the Trump Cards, which is a light and creative way for an adviser to think about his/her own skills and competencies.
It has also been the chance to talk about the situation of agriculture in Denmark, and particularly about the situation of the advisory system. The partners have been pleased to welcome representatives from the Danish advisory system and share experiences with them.
The partners have enjoyed working in a European team and continuing to build bridges between the various national contexts and cultures. They will leave at the end of the week with even more motivation to apply the project’s method and achieve its goals.
Next stop: Chania, Crete, in November.