The next series of Small Business Act (SBA) assessments, to be carried out by the European Training Foundation (ETF) in the Southern Mediterranean partner countries, has begun in Tunisia. The focus of the latest assessment round is threefold: how entrepreneurship is promoted in secondary-level education and training; women’s entrepreneurship; and skills to support SME internationalisation.
Recent policy developments and good practice across these three key areas is being captured by cross-stakeholder focus groups in the ETF’s partner countries. Partnerships that bring policymakers and education and training providers together to share intelligence, ideas and forward-looking perspectives, is a feature of the ETF’s approach to its work to support the SBA.
“This helps both government and the training community determine how best to improve entrepreneurship,” says Najmeddine Boukhari, Head of Department of Tunisia’s Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation.
On entrepreneurship in education and training, the focus group recognised the value of sharing experience between general and vocational education. While more concerted efforts are needed in training for women entrepreneurs this must be co-worked with a wider drive to empower women in businesses concluded one of the focus groups.
While skills for SME internationalisation is considered important, particularly for Tunisia’s EU trade, the focus group confirmed skills for firms operating in the domestic market is crucial, underlining the importance of training development in the country.
The SBA is an important driver of the ETF’s work with partner countries to raise the profile of entrepreneurship and SME skills. SBA assessments in the remaining Southern Neighbourhood countries are scheduled for May and June.