This project derives from the idea that our changing European economy needs more entrepreneurship. Our schools have the ambition to prepare our pupils for their future life and career. In the participating countries of this partnership, we see a very low percentage of youngsters starting up their own (international) business. Therefore, this project wants to contribute to the EU 2020 strategy by providing our students with skills for the future.
We see a growing desire for practical examples regarding international entrepreneurship. Our students read about multinationals and international trade through various information channels, but come across very few real-life examples in their direct environment or in the local economy. A growing number of students start out with little experience in international business life and find their way to the job market with limited business/economical capacities (such as presentation and sales techniques, financial reporting, negotiating with clients and suppliers, business communication, devising a business plan).
The project’s main goal will be to develop workable, sustainable and readymade methods for a school to transfer knowledge and experience about international trade from the actual work field to the developing student. These methods will be collected in a “Good practices international business guide for schools” (=BG).
On a macro level the participating schools are looking for a long term partnership to make a platform to transfer the experience of international trading. By using the different methods in the trial-and-error context of this project, schools will be able to find different ways to stimulate and reinforce student empowerment to take care of international business relations. In the long run, this school strategy should be able to help teachers exchange ideas concerning ways to enrich their classes by looking at the best practices from other lessons about international trade.
The output of the project will bring a workable and readymade solution for the growing need for long term partnerships with European schools, who are teaching international trade in their lessons, but are looking for the total “selling story” (a way for the students to get out of their comfort zones when presenting and selling their products). Both with gaining experience on the European business to consumer (B2C) market, but also to start a business to business (B2B) international trading project from scratch.
On the meso level the teachers will work out good-practice methods to challenge the students to enlarge not only the B2C selling skills, but also to learn the first steps to become a real B2B international trader. We will find methods to motivate students to leave their comfort zone (friends, fools & family) at presentations and sales moments and make possibilities to have contact with foreign consumers and entrepreneurs. Through international trading in different areas, students will learn that marketing (product, price, promotion and place) is not a regionally determined factor, but must be customized to each target audience in each of the different regions. This way teachers will be empowered with knowledge and skills to develop an environment where pupils develop international entrepreneurial mindset and skills.
On the micro level the students will be challenged to establish commercial contact with both the foreign consumers as well as building a durable commercial relationship and searching for a commercial supply channel with foreign entrepreneurs. Concrete applications will teach them that every marketing plan is very specific and must be adapted to its target audience in various countries to become a successful international entrepreneur. Also, successful international trading requires elaborating a sustainable bond of faith between different companies. In this project, we will use different working methods to help in elaborating these sustainable relations for local enterprises and offer them the opportunity to be introduced to new markets.
Furthermore, the good-practice methods will demand that students have to work with European and national law within the unified European trading zone. Distribution of goods will also mean taking into account of environmental and sustainable factors in transporting goods through Europe. The choice of distributors needs to be adapted to the local consumers, and distributor’s needs. In order to succeed in mentioned goals, language skills, computer skills and the use of digital tools should be improved and elaborated to support the new teaching methods of the project.