MicroENTRE® Growth Network™ has been approved as a good practice by Interreg EuropePolicy Learning Platform
The network already includes about 300 micro-enterprises in 13 different regional core groups. MGN has been coordinated by MicroENTRE® since 2015, entrepreneurs, researchers, and local public business advisory services (PBAS) promote entrepreneurial behaviour through joint activities, such as sharing ideas, peer learning and business development.
Micro-enterprises - with less than ten employees - comprise 93% of all European enterprises and are thus important part of economic life, but have very limited resources. Entrepreneurs often use networks to gain access to economic resources, but networks can also provide entrepreneurs with access to useful, reliable, exclusive, and relevant information, which, in turn, improves the likelihood that entrepreneurial companies will be successful. Through the network, micro-entrepreneurs and PBAS have direct contact with the university research, which transfers recent research-based knowledge to the network. This peer-to-peer network provides micro-entrepreneurs with a forum that fosters social interaction with other entrepreneurs.
The activities of the MicroENTRE® Growth Network take place around the monthly meetings of core groups, managed local development corporations, where entrepreneurs gain peer support, development ideas and new partners. The host company of the month selects the theme and timing of the meeting. The local development corporation is responsible for recruiting entrepreneurs and arranging the meetings. MicroENTRE® Growth Network concept gives entrepreneurs and researchers a platform through which to share common interests, e.g. small business management and pursuit for business growth, as well as develop, disseminate, and benefit from the acquired common knowledge.
This good practice was indicated as a highly valuable project it offers low threshold forum for all entrepreneurs and it is easily modifiable concept for regional or local needs. It provides resources for researchers and PBAS to collaborate in favour for companies and share their knowledge. The strength of peer-to-peer networking is in learning together and from others, in conversations and encouragement to growth. Thus, the resilience is created in exchanging experiences in safe, trustful atmosphere and learning from each other how to adapt on new or changing conditions or business, but also searching for solutions and support together.
MicroENTRE® Growth Network is highly transferable as:
• Microenterprises are most common mode of companies
• It is already dispersing across the regions in Finland
• It is operating in grassroots level and easily adapted to current needs of member companies
• It suits for all microenterprises since the most needs are universal in spite of the business
MicroENTRE® Growth Network good practice was evaluated by policy expert of Interreg Europe policy learning platform. Following is a direct quotation from evaluation text.
“The MGN programme establishes a good framework for connecting micro-enterprises with resources to help improve their daily business operations and grow their company. Providing a forum for micro-enterprises to network with other industry colleagues can go a long way in the development of their business. Such opportunities include learning best practices, expanding their business contacts which can lead to new partnerships and clients. Further, MGN offers support through direct contact with university research, which could be used to develop new services or improve existing offerings. This is vital as SMEs and micro-enterprises often lack the resources to collaborate with academia. The replication potential for such a framework is high as there is a low barrier to entry for micro-enterprises. Also, there is broad applicability for the information and services being provided, so such a network would be feasible in different settings across Europe.“