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VUZF participated in a final conference on a “Strategic Management, Agility and Right Technologies for Youth – SMART Youth” project.


On 8-9 November in Trabzon, Turkey, the final conference of the Smart Youth project was held. Within the scope of the "Strategic Management, Agility and Right Technologies for Youth - SMART Youth" Project supported by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ Program activities were carried out to improve the entrepreneurial skills of young people, prepare them for the real and digital world market and support entrepreneurs to establish an agile business that can adapt to possible crisis situations. 6 institutions from 4 different countries are involved in the project, which started in 2020 and has a total duration of 2 years. Trabzon Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, VUZF University, Galati Dunarea de Jos University and Atlantic University of Technology took place as project partners in the project, which was led by Karadeniz Technical University. The target group of the project is young people and students between the ages of 18-29 who are interested in entrepreneurship, higher education institutions and organizations operating in the field of youth education and business development.

The final conference of the project was hosted by the project coordinator - Karadeniz Technical University. On the event were presented the project outputs among which are:

Research on Risks and Opportunities:

The success of entrepreneurs and businesses depends significantly on their capacity to assess opportunities, identify, prevent, mitigate and manage risks. The Research Report focuses on the definition of the concept of risk vulnerability with clear assessment criteria, measurement parameters of potential risks, sectors and types of businesses that could be affected, probabilities and the degree to which businesses are affected. The research is also an important step in the analysis of gaps in the existing training programs in the field of entrepreneurship in the partner countries Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Ireland.

Research on Entrepreneurship Skills Needed:

Within this study questionnaires applied to the target group (110 organizations from 4 countries, including companies, entrepreneurs, business associations and other organizations supporting businesses) facing crises in the project partner countries Turkey, Ireland, Bulgaria and Romania. The impact of entrepreneurial skills and abilities in crisis situations, the importance of digital tools used by organizations, and demographic characteristics and other relevant factors affecting organizations were revealed. The effects of the factors that can affect the success of organizations in crisis situations on companies were analyzed and as a result of the analysis, it was concluded that these factors have a significant impact on companies in line with the answers given by the sample group.

Best Practices on New Generation Entrepreneurs:

The best practice examples compiled from Turkey, Bulgaria, Ireland and Romania include stories about companies that faced the challenge of COVID-19, as well as information on how these companies digitized their operations and reorganized their businesses to maintain their sustainability during other periods of crisis. The companies involved in the research shared what kind of digital solutions (online platforms, remote working solutions, digital marketing strategies, chatbots or other solutions) they have implemented and their experiences when faced with extreme events such as pandemics and other crises. In each published story, the focus is on the situation of the companies before and during the pandemic and their performance after the digitalization process, especially after the solutions developed.

The main objective of this study is to share concrete commercial results and outputs from the application of digital technologies in crisis management, especially with young entrepreneurs. Interviews were conducted with one company from each of the partner countries selected from the published best practice examples about their crisis management experiences, successful transformations during the crisis, and agile business management experiences. These interviews were compiled by the project team, turned into videos and uploaded to the Smart Business Toolbox.

Click here to access the videos of the interviews with companies selected as good practice examples.

Database with Solution Providers:

The "Database with Solution Providers" has been compiled and uploaded to the smart business toolbox, which brings together the service and solution providers used by companies that can ensure their sustainability and digitalize in times of crisis. Crisis management and digitalization may require not only specific skills but also specific technologies and products. In the global market, there are many service providers offering various solutions that can facilitate the mission of entrepreneurs and businesses to build and manage sustainable business. With this study, a database was created with companies that provide services/technologies that can guarantee easy sustainability and agility during the crisis, with a main focus on free services and platforms or free trials. The database includes not only companies from Turkey, Bulgaria, Ireland and Romania, but also other international companies that provide successful solutions.

Training Curriculum and Recognition Toolkit for the Curriculum:

The training curriculum, which includes 6 different training modules in total, has been developed in cooperation with 6 project partners with the aim of improving the entrepreneurial skills of young people, preparing them for the real and digital world market, building an agile business that can adapt to crisis situations, improving the skills of businesses in business sustainability, crisis prevention and management through digitalization.

Virtual Bootcamp:

In order to promote transnational interactions and knowledge exchange between trainers, students, successful enterprises and solution providers from partner countries, an international 6-day pilot training (virtual bootcamp) was organized. The bootcamp lasted for 6 days and focused on key training modules included in the curriculum. The virtual bootcamp was attended by young people aged 18-29, students, entrepreneurs and start-up owners, and 71 participants who fully participated and successfully completed the bootcamp were awarded with an "International Certificate of Participation" approved by the authorities of all partner organizations.

Learn more HERE