GT4SME Virtual Project Meeting – Our good practice on tourism


mondo sostenibilità

The second transnational project meeting of GT4SME project took place online in middle of June.  During the week-long event, AREGAI invited Giovanna Ceccherini, (director of Mediterranea Consulab) Italian consultant and advisor for domestic tourism as the italian guest speaker.


During her presentation, she shared her experience as hotel manager and brand manager for tour operators. Part of the job and services offered by her company are aimed at promoting tourism and travel businesses to explore new markets, which are related and influenced by business internationalization.


The suggested process


She described to the GT4SME partners and their trainers, the process that each organization has to go through if they are interested in “going international”, such as:

Market knowledge – The company must have a clear idea on what are the main elements of the market, included the knowledge of the other players, that can either help us or compete with us.

Strategy – before taking action, creating a plan to guide us along the way. This include also a marketing strategy and tools/elements that will help us monitor the process.

Organization, Methods and Tools – While creating a strong product to sell, asking suggestions or the contribution of experts could be a good way to be sure the strategy is aiming in the right direction.

Sustainability – setting realistic goals is the essential to make sure the strategy we implemented is strong, and that resources we have are adequate to our needs and activities. Clear and reachable goals, set to be reached over reasonable amount of time will also offer clear guidelines to the staff you are employing in your project.


How long does it take?

An internationalization project takes about three years to settle in a foreign country. It must be periodically monitored in terms of performance and costs and eventually modified in compliance with significant changes on both sides (business; tackled market..)

In a case study she presented, Internationalization has been possible through a participated project with pubic-private investments. Cost may be extremely high to be faced by a single company. Conversely, also consortium and private business associations often promote internationalization campaigns with several financial models.


The advantage of networking

Finally, she suggested finding partners to share goals, risks and financing with. It may take longer time in organization, but it means sharing expertise, containing financial risks and guarantee a stable penetration in foreign markets. In addition, partnerships (local and international) better tackles competition.


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GT4SME Second Transnational Project Meeting on the Topic “Financial Access”

The 2nd transnational project meeting (TPM) of the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project “Enabling Sustainable Growth and Transformation of SMEs with a Focus on Work-Based Learning” (GT4SME) took place online between 15.06. – 19.06.2020.

The main objective of the project is to support SME-educators in their work in four topic fields to enable sustainable SME growth and transformation eventually. These are Digitalization, Internationalization, Financial Access, and (positive) Impact.

In order to improve knowledge and practical experience of the consortium partners, four TPMs have been planned to have a practical thematic aspect dedicated to one of the four project topics.

The virtual training

To support work-based learning experience, these TPMs have been planned to incorporate a ‘thematic workshop’ to which the consortium invites a ‘guest SME representative’ (the case-SME) and works on the specific project topic together.

The project coordinator, with the support of other partners, has developed a ‘workshop methodology’ (one of the project deliverables) which is based on various infographic cards presenting valuable know-how and tips for the four project topics.

During the workshop with the case-SME, the consortium has planned to go through these visual materials, ask various questions to the case-SME, assess the needs and opportunities of the case-SME, and, finally, present certain suggestions or solutions regarding the four project topics.


The specific theme of the 2nd TPM was Financial Access and it was originally planned to take place in Belgrade, Serbia. However, due to the Covid-19 crisis, the consortium had to cancel the physical meeting and organize a virtual one instead.

The virtual training was spread to four days (15th, 16th, 17th and 19th of June 2020) and each day had two 2-hour sessions. During the meeting sessions consortium partners not only evaluated the overall progress of the project and discussed next steps, but also exchanged knowledge and practices related to the project’s four topics, with a focus on Financial Access.

While it was relatively challenging to have lively and interactive sessions in virtual platform compared to a real one, it presented certain benefits as well: Instead of ‘bringing’ best-practice examples from their countries and presenting them during a physical meeting, the partners were actually able to ‘invite’ guest-speakers who can directly talk about their own practices.

In total, there were seven external guest speakers and one case-SME participating in the 2nd TPM, in addition to the regular consortium partners. This contributed to the richness and quality of the input brought to the meeting sessions and the consortium was able to hold multifaceted discussions.

The external guest speakers have presented on following topics:

  1. Topic-Expert from Serbia: SME-Internationalization and Funds
  2. Best-Practice Example from Croatia: Smart Lumies
  3. Best-Practice Example from Turkey:
  4. Topic-Expert from Italy: Internationalization of Tourism, Giovanna Ceccherini
  5. Topic-Expert from Turkey: Financial Access and at the European and Regional Level
  6. Topic-Expert from Turkey: Carbon-Financing – Examples of projects in the field
  7. Best-Practice Example from Serbia: Camping Association of Serbia
  8. The Case-SME from Serbia: D-PLAN d.o.o.

While the short discussions on the best-practice examples focused on those SME’s impact and internationalization journeys / aims, the presentations of the specific topics highlighted helpful online sources and tools at the European and national levels related especially to Financial Access.

The meeting with the case-SME consisted in a presentation of the business and the extensive question-and-answer session aiming at understanding the SME’s needs, its actual (positive) impact, gaps in the sector, challenges and opportunities of opening to other markets, etc.

During meeting, the consortium partners presented their findings and suggestions that can be helpful for the SME’s sustainable growth.

As part of project’s dissemination, the consortium has been publishing blogs on the project website and spreading them through the project’s social media accounts (Facebook / Instagram), which present valuable knowledge on project’s four topics; or share best-practice examples from Europe in general and partner countries in particular; or discuss global issues that touch upon project’s scope.

More detailed information on the specific topics and practices covered in the 2nd TPM can be followed through above-mentioned social media channels, as the consortium will publish blogs on them in the coming weeks.