MICRO Project Test and Validation Exceeds Expectations

Michael Kenny, Principal Investigator (PI) MICRO Department of Adult & Community Education, Maynooth University facilitating a feedback workshop with rural entrepreneurs
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 19:00

MICRO (Enhancing Competitiveness of Micro-Enterprises in Rural Areas, Further details here) is a six (6) partner ERASMUS+ research and pilot project. The seven MICRO project partners are Irish Rural Link (Ireland), Maynooth University, (Ireland), Community Development Institute (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), EEO consultancy Group (Greece), IHF (Institut de Haute Formation aux Politiques Communautaires asbl, Belgium), IDP (Italian Development Partners, Italy), and IWS SL (Internet Web Solutions Ltd., Spain).

Micro and SME (Small and medium size) enterprises that employ less than ten people provide gainful employment for over 90% of the working population in the private sector across Europe. Micro and SME enterprises are essential to the viability of rural areas. The concept underpinning the MICRO project is to promote growth and employment in rural areas by leveraging under-utilised EU opportunities and promote greater participation in the EU Single Market by micro-enterprises.

The MICRO project seeks to develop and deploy an online open educational resource (OER) containing modules of training targeted at micro and craft-type enterprises in rural areas. MICRO seeks to foster further growth opportunities for micro and SME, enhance their competitiveness, and promote access to the EU single market opportunities through the online provision of openly available training materials.

Following the preparation of a Capacity Gap Assessment Report ten (10) pilot online courses were prepared and made available in beta format. The ten (10) pilot modules prepared were:

1. Access to non-grant finance
2. Building capacity in rural micro-enterprises
3. Business planning and management skills
4. EU programme awareness
5. EU wide tools and resources
6. EU Single Market
7. Financial management
8. ICT literacy skills
9. Pathways to market
10. Marketing / promotion

See Micro Me Training here

The Capacity Gap Assessment Report was prepared arising from the online feedback analysis of one hundred and fifty six (156) micro and craft-type rural based enterprises across the six (6) project partner countries.
The next phase, May to September 2018, was to test and validate the pilot modules. A series of practice workshops were held across the six countries using tools proposed in the project test and validation report. In Ireland workshops were held with groups of rural entrepreneurs in Westmeath, Galway and Mayo.

The project targeted two hundred (200) micro and craft-type rural based enterprises but achieved three hundred and forty eight (348) participants. A test and validation report capturing the feedback is being prepared and will be presented at a partner meeting in Irish Rural Link (IRL) office, Moate, Co Westmeath on October 25th.

Contact Michael Kenny, Principal Investigator (PI) MICRO (Enhancing Competitiveness of Micro-Enterprises in Rural Areas), Department of Adult & Community Education, Maynooth University W23 X021. T: + 353 1 708 3590, E: michael.kenny@mu.ie (Direct messages)