Project on Cooperation and Networking

amongst ENTREPRENEURSHIP & SME Research- & Educational Colleges & Universities

in Central and Eastern Europe

Preamble

On 1st May 2004, a historical period terminates, the beginning of which was signed by the wave of political transformations having taken place in all Central and Eastern European countries in 1990 while the end of which is marked by the majority of these countries joining the European Union in 2004. With regard to these countries, this historical period meant the transition from a direct planned economy into a market economy. It can be established that the transition has radically taken place, however, young market economies and fresh entrepreneurs and enterprises are bound to face tremendous challenges in the European market competition.

Education plays a significant role in brand new Central and Eastern European entrepreneurs closing up and becoming equal competitors of their more fortunate and well established Western European partners.

The historic role of institutions in the higher education

The role of institutions in the higher education has been twofold in this region: on the one hand, it is their responsibility to teach the most up-to-date business and entrepreneurial knowledge to the future intellectuals, while they also have to open up towards economic actors and take part in offering existing enterprises extracurricular, postgraduate trainings and education.  

Institutions of higher education as well as signers of present declaration of intent have already taken the first steps as curriculum of fundamental importance have already been prepared, organisational units (e.g. research centres, departments and SBDC, etc.) focusing on the conveyance of entrepreneurial knowledge and on carrying out research in their domestic SME sector have also been established.

Necessity of international coordination

Signers of present declaration of intent have realised the mutual advantages of cooperation and coordination as well as benefits of entrepreneurial researches based on network collaboration and the successfulness of high-standard curriculum and courses created by coordinated efforts.

Taking advantage of international comparisons is of great importance in research issues such as the investigation of enterprises’ operation circumstances with special regard to good governance, enterprise-friendly economic and social environment, means of intensifying competitiveness, administrative burdens of operating enterprises and enterprises’ financial environment.

Comparing and distributing results of Best Practice researches are undoubtedly useful just like the exploration of entrepreneurs’ social responsibility and ethic business attitude in different cultures.

Common researches might help political decision-makers in creating appropriate entrepreneurial environment, finding the best solutions, while they also contribute to modernizing and selecting curriculum of higher education.

In order to realise above objectives, associating institutions have determined actions as follows:

Ø      In order to create the organisational framework of their cooperation, they establish an international network of higher education on teaching and investigating entrepreneurship.

Ø      In course of regular and continuous exchange of information, they make each other acquainted with their curriculum and researches.

Ø      They elaborate and realise common research projects by taking advantage of international cooperation.

Ø      In order to provide financial sources of outlined researches, they collectively apply for support in multilateral, pan-European projects.

Ø      They promote the exchange of their professors, researchers and possibly students showing considerable interest in enterprise development, furthermore they also support students participating in integrated courses and education.

Ø      They develop an Internet network with links of all participating departments.

Ø      In the beginning only on a national level, however, later on also internationally they create a forum for publications in order to exchange, document and distribute their research results. The forum for publication is fundamentally an internet-based periodical nevertheless not excluding the publishing of special issues and unique publications.

Ø      By keeping requirements of education development in mind, they collectively elaborate new syllabus and curriculum.

Ø      Results of common research projects are regularly exchanged on workshops, conferences and round table discussions by taking advantage of researchers’ personal mobility.

Technical aspects of creating the network

Both institutions in the higher education and researchers as private individuals can join the network created in order to realise above outlined objectives. There is no membership fee in the network, however, the yearly contribution of a scientific research result (or original, new publication) to common “intellectual capital” is an indispensable condition of valid membership. 

The coordination of the international network is undertaken by the Hungarian membership organisation. The managing agent of the Hungarian network of educating and investigating entrepreneurship is the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration. SBDC takes in hand the organisation of project proposal submissions and the appropriate representation of interests concerning network members. In accordance with the Hungarian network model, actual activities are performed with “shared intelligence”, in other words the coordination and operation of different research-, development- and other tasks can be undertaken by any members of the network provided with necessary resources and capacities. 

It is an open network, therefore all institutions in the higher education possessing the recommendation of two network member institutions are allowed to join it. Applicants fulfilling requirements obtain “temporary membership status” which can be reinforced by a majority voting on the following network program. Members’ right of veto enable them to hand in and account for a veto, the consequence of which is the reconsideration of the case on the following network program. Becoming a member requires 75% unanimous vote of participating members. The registration of membership (and temporary membership) is conducted by the Small Business Development Centre of the CORVINUS University Budapest in cooperation with the Regional Adviser on Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, while SBDC s also in charge of releasing the current network list at least once a month via e-mail.

 

Interested institutions are requested to contact

 

Dr. Péter Szirmai

Director of the Small Business Development Centre

Corvinus University

H-1093 Budapest

Fővámtér 8.

HUNGARY

Phone cellular: +366 20 36 43 494

     Phone and Fax.: +361 482-5116

E-mail: peter.szirmai@uni-corvinus.hu

Web-site: http://kfk.uni-corvinus.hu

 

and

 

Dr. Antal Szabó

Regional Adviser on Entrepreneurship and SMEs

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Palais des Nations Office 440

8-14, avenue de la Paix

CH-1211 Geneva 10

SWITZERLAND

Phone: +4122 917 2471          Fax: +4122 917 0178

E-mail: antal.szabo@unece.org

Web-site: http://www.unece.org/indust/sme/ece-sme.htm