The economies of European countries consist of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Globalisation has brought a change to the economic environment of the SMEs in Europe. International activities strengthen the growth of enterprises, as they help them become more competitive. For many SMEs, national frontiers are still a significative barrier to expanding their business, even though the European Single Market has given an opportunity for small firms to do business easier in other Member States. Simultaneously, the EU is enabling and helping SMEs to act beyond the Single Market.
There are numerous studies demonstrating the direct link between internationalisation and increased SMEs achievement. Active internationalisation influences enterprises' growth, increase competitiveness and supports its the long term sustainability. European SMEs still rest generally on their domestic markets despite the aroused opportunities and threats brought by globalisation and most significantly, by the enlarged single market. In that case The European Commission recommends to direct the main effort towards having more internationalised companies rather than focusing on those companies with the largest potential.
According to the latest data by EC, despite the advantages of embracing globalisation and the risks of not doing so, many European SMEs still remain focused on their national markets: only 8% of EU27 SMEs export, only 12% of the inputs of an average SME are purchased abroad and only 5% of EU SMEs obtain income from foreign business partnerships. The main reported reasons are a lack of financial resources but most of all lack of skills or skilled human capital to tackle internationalisation" (final Report of the Expert Group on Supporting the internationalisation of SMEs (EC, December 2007).
One of the support measures in place to help SMEs expand their international operations is the training activities on internationalisation in the acquisition and the use of knowledge, skills and qualifications to facilitate SMEs' employees personal development.
Growth of international trade and effective foreign market entrance strategy - essential solutions for development and even for survival of the SME. This indicates that objective learning and teaching material on how to enter new foreign markets and how to remain competitive should and will be purposeful intervention in order to foster internationalisation of innovative and technology oriented SMEs.
The project aims to adapt an e-learning package in order to develop individual and organisational competences, to raise the qualification on strategic business management of SMEs in the internationalisation context.