The green economy
A brief review of reports produced by bodies such as the European Commission, United Nations and World Bank over the last five years or so have highlighted that there are a number of challenges relating to the sustainability of current modes of production and patterns of consumption. They suggest that there is an urgent need to green our economies and that ‘sustainability and the green economy is the next transformational business mega-trend comparable to mass production, manufacturing quality movement, IT revolution, and globalization’ (Harvard Business Review, 2012).
This has prompted national governments to introduce a range of policies and programmes to support the development of a low carbon or green economy. In the United Kingdom, for example, we have seen the introduction of initiatives by successive governments such as the Climate Change Levy, capital allowances on energy-efficient items and the DECC Innovative Low Carbon Technologies Fund.
At a local and regional level within the UK and other EU Member States, there has been the introduction of specific programmes of business advice, coaching and mentoring to assist existing businesses to exploit opportunities in the green economy. In comparison, however, there has been less focus on the development of education and training programmes to provide individuals wishing to start a business in the green economy and/or existing owners looking to green their business with the appropriate understanding and skills to put ideas into action. This may reflect the relative newness of green entrepreneurship, as a label for describing individuals starting and growing businesses in the green economy, as well as the lack of agreement over the scale and scope of the green business sector.
The GET-UP Project
SFEDI is currently part of a new European-wide Erasmus + project, Green Entrepreneurship Training (GET-UP), which is seeking to address this gap in learning and skills development for green entrepreneurs. The overall aim of the project is to design and develop a bespoke green entrepreneurship training curriculum to foster the business skills and understanding that will support long-term business development and success.
The project consortium consists of 8 partner organisations from 7 different EU member states led by the University of Paderborn (Germany). The other partners are University of Pitesti (Romania), Meath Community Rural and Social Development Partnership (Ireland), European University Cyprus (Cyprus), Future In Perspective (Ireland), Fundacion Universidad Empresa de la Region de Murcia (Spain) and Innoventum Oy (Finland). The GET-UP project started in September 2016 with a completion date of August 2018.
GET-UP partners will use their expertise in designing business and enterprise curriculum and their knowledge of on-line learning systems to generate demand-led and engaging learning content for green entrepreneurs.
If you are interested in starting a business in the green economy or you are looking to green the processes and practices of your existing business, it would be good to hear from you and learn about your story and experiences. There is an opportunity to profile your business, as a case study, through the project and exchange experiences with other businesses like yours across Europe.
If you would like to hear more about the development of the training materials, you can register on our e-learning portal at http://www.green-entrepreneurship.online/en/home/.
You can keep up to date with developments on our project page on Facebook.
For more information on the project please contact Leigh on 01325 468 017 or [email protected]sfedi.co.uk.