The EVA project developed an interactive platform helping aspiring immigrant entrepreneurs identify, develop and receive accreditation for their entrepreneurship skills. The name of the platform, EVA stands for European Entrepreneurship Vocational education and training (VET) Model and Assessment Framework for Ethnic Minorities. The project was funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme and implemented in five countries (Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Malta).
The EVA project started from the observation that people born outside the EU have fewer employment opportunities, and skilled immigrants often occupy jobs for which they are overqualified. Additionally, many immigrants are eager to start their own business, which would contribute to job creation and growth. However, challenges hinder their ability to successfully start and grow businesses (i.e. limited access to finance and support services, language barriers). The EVA project was launched in 2016 to help these entrepreneurs overcome some of these barriers, and in turn advance their economic and social integration and enhance intercultural cohesion, in line with the EU 2020 Strategy.
The EVA project developed an online interactive learning platform for immigrant entrepreneurs. The learning platform includes three main components allowing the aspiring entrepreneur to (i) discover, (ii) develop and (iii) test their entrepreneurship skills. The first component is the Evaluation and Orientation System. It measures the “propensity to entrepreneurship” of the user, i.e. their knowledge, experience, traits and attitude towards entrepreneurship. The questionnaire results offers guidance to the user as to whether entrepreneurship seems like a valuable option for them and guides them into relevant training for their needs. The questionnaire takes around 30 minutes to complete. The second component is the Entrepreneurship Training Programme. It is organised around thematic modules (e.g. enterprise skills, starting a business, access to finance, sales and marketing, language, culture, communication and networking). Users are free to navigate the modules to learn at their own pace. The third component of the platform is the Enterprise Simulator, a 3D environment in which users can explore five common scenarios for entrepreneurs. In the environment, users can click on different interactive elements. They are presented with dilemmas and options and reflect on how they would address the situation. For each scenario, there is a test to evaluate the user’s understanding of the topic. Once users successfully pass a test, they receive a digital badge with a QR code acknowledging the knowledge acquired. A separate badge is rewarded to users completing the full programme. The certificate of completion of the programme grants recognisable credits (in the European credit system for vocational education and training – ECVET). The platform is available in the main languages of the five partner countries, with questionnaire and learning contents that are adapted to the national context. It targets immigrants with at a basic or intermediate knowledge of the language of their host country.
The programme focused on developing a methodology. The programme ran between September 2016 and September 2018. The platform was tested with immigrants in Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Italy, and Malta in May 2018 in order to ensure it efficiency and make adjustments. It was then made available to all users at the end of the project. The platform was presented to key stakeholders at the national level (job centres, learning institutes, etc.) to raise awareness and encourage its use alongside other support measures. The EVA project also produced recommendations for policymakers, educators and other stakeholders on how to use the platform to enhance their activities and how to improve the support for ethnic and migrant entrepreneurship based on the lessons from its two years of activities.
- EVA (2018), EVA website, https://eva-project.eu.
- EVA (2018), Guidelines to EVA Pilot test May 2018, https://eva-project.ludusxr.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Guide-to-pilot-test_pdf.pdf.
- EVA (2018), Policy recommendation, https://eva-project.ludusxr.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Policy-recommendation_final.pdf.