800 executives of Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from 5 countries of Eastern Europe have attended seminars and completed a training program titled ''Business Innovation and Value Creation for the 21st Century'', which was organized in the framework of the ENLARGE (Entrepreneurship Laboratory for Eastern European Regions European Program) project. The training program that was designed by ALBA, INSEAD and PLANET ERNST & YOUNG, and implemented in Bulgaria (CLPP), Rumania (ICI), Cyprus, (University of Cyprus), Polland (LKAEM) and Slovenia (Maribor Univeristy). The purpose of the program was to impart knowledge related to the e-business principles in the sense of entrepreneurial innovation, as well as practices through which these principles can be implemented.
The seminars were combined with lectures and workshops for the participants, in order to maximize the benefits of the learning process. The aim of the program was not so much to impose specific theories concerning what managers in these countries should do, but to give them a chance, within a structured environment, to develop their own ideas, solutions and initiatives, which will lead their companies to the era of knowledge. The ultimate goal was for e-business to practically coincide with entrepreneurship.
It was the first time that ALBA, INSEAD and PLANET ERNST & YOUNG cooperated for the creation of a training program specifically designed to address the needs of Southeastern Europe. The whole project was under the supervision of the academic director Dr Mylonopoulos, Assistant Professor of Information Systems at ALBA, while the organization and coordination was assigned to the Applied Research & International Projects Department of ALBA.
It is worthy of note that the project was received with enthusiasm on behalf of the business world in all five countries. The seminar was very favorably commented by participants, who requested more similar initiatives. The results and experience of developing the training program were presented and discussed in the 4th Conference ''Southeastern Europe and New Economy'', which took place on April 3rd and 4th in Boukarest. The main conclusion discussed was that entrepreneurial excellence and competitive advantage are not necessarily prerogatives of developed countries. On the contrary, less developed countries have the opportunity to compete on equal terms as long as they take advantage of their knowledge capital and enhance its conversion to innovative business practices. ENLARGE just opened the way...