1. Developing high-quality digital content to further reinforce the role of Vocational Education & Training as one of the means to revitalise the SME fabric of the European economy and society
  2. Establishing an innovative Open Educational Resource that becomes the focal point for the VET and entrepreneurship support ecosystems to leverage highly relevant and timely training content in digital and multilingual versions to enhance the competitiveness of SMEs in European post-pandemic economy

COVID-19 is a game changer, an across-the-board tsunami, with a disruptive, unprecedented impact on businesses and training. The VET system will need to upgrade and re-adjust its content and provision to the “post-pandemic new normal” socio-economic conditions. The post pandemic business environment will require SMEs to adjust to new business models, new revenue streams, new concepts of profitability, etc. In sum, the VET system will need to be able to accompany SMEs with a new concept and model of “post-pandemic entrepreneurship and business” to ensure the resilience of SMEs after the lock down, hence the name for our project; ESMERALD: Enhancing SMEs’ Resilience After Lock Down. With 207,851,733 cases and 4,366,290 deaths globally (as of August 19, 2021) and 42,115,906 cases and 879,311deaths in the EU/EEA and UK, COVID-19 is a catastrophe (source: EU Centre for Disease Prevention & Control, as of Aug.19, 2021).

Moreover, and leaving aside the human pain and social cost, the pandemic is having a considerable impact on the economy, employment and business. Official data of the EU Commission for the second quarter of 2020 show that GDP was down by 12.1% in the Euro Area and by 11.9% in the EU (respectively -15.0% and -14.4% compared with the second quarter of 2019), official data from this link

The EU Commission estimates there will be no rebound in 2021: this is to say that this is only the beginning of the crisis, affecting micro and small businesses the greatest. ESMERALD will develop innovative training and will deliver it to SMEs on post-pandemic entrepreneurship, economic and business models to maximise the opportunities for SMEs to bounce back after the end of the lockdown and when the economy reopens.