It has been a blast! On 30 May 2023, the Members of the ESMERALD project consortium gathered together in the welcoming environment of the Krakow University of Economics, to hold the Final Transnational Project Meeting. The meeting, held in face-to-face format and via Zoom was a fitting tribute to the work carried out within the framework of the Project.
ESMERALD, bringing together seven partners from six EU Member States (Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain) and is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, aims to respond to the training needs of micro and small/medium enterprises (MSMEs) whose businesses were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project overview and recap of activities in respective IOs
The representatives of the Partners gathered in an impressive room of the Museum of the Krakow University of Economics (with certain exhibit items whose history dates back to 17th century!) – both face-to-face and joining via electronic means.
Firstly, the Head of the Department of Public Economic Law and Labour Law of the KUE, Prof. Monika Szaraniec (head of the Polish side – leader of the Consortium), opened the Meeting and greeted all the Participants. She also introduced the topics envisaged for the agenda of the Meeting. Then, Dr. Marcin Kiełbasa (KUE) proceeded with a overview of Administrative and financial issues of the project. A recap on the status of the implementation of the IO3 (COVID-19 micro and MSMEs response toolkit + Training & Validation phase) by Prof. Leslie T. Szamosi (with the help of Anastasios Ntabizas – both of SEERC) followed. What is crucial, the results obtained by the Consortium and numbers reached in this regard are well above the expectations and what has been envisaged in the grant application. Such is also the case with IO1 ESMERALD Open Educational Resources, as presented by Javier from the Spanish Partner of the Consortium, IWS. In his informative speech, the Participants have learned that a total of 144 full training courses and 144 training fiches (24 per each Partner language) have been used online by more that 1600 users and visited by a staggering number of 70,000 unique visitors!
ESMERALD results’ relevance for next generation of workers in post-COVID world
After the coffee break, Dr. Nebojša Stojčić (University of Dubrovnik [UNIDU], Croatia) recapped activities in the Project’s IO4 (Guidelines for Mainstreaming and COVID-19 MSME Resilience Manifesto), rightly emphasizing that the output of ESMERALD shall be relevant for the next generations of workers in the post-COVID world. Then, clear-cut presentations from Gloria Ridolfi (IDP, Italy) on Quality Assurance (including the overall quality check of the Project) and Stefano Natale (IHF, Belgium) on Dissemination, exploitation and results thereof (including great results of dissemination of results of ESMERALD Project) rounded up the very fruitful meeting. In the discussion that followed, the Participants, including especially Lorenzo Costantino (IHF) and Roberta Albertazzi (IWS) emphasized the outperformance of the Project – both from qualitative as well as from quantitative point of view. They pointed out also to the varied composition of the cohort of end-users of the Project’s results (including business and education environments) as well as the diversity element.
All that has been achieved within the framework of the ESMERALD Project shall remain contained in ESMERALD OER Platform, available at https://esmerald.eu/index.php in 6 languages (English, Polish, Croatian, Spanish, Italian, and Greek) to enhance and ensure the visibility and transfer of results, as well as the improvement of skills and competences of MSMEs, especially micro-enterprises, in the "resilience journey" of the post-pandemic context of today’s world.