The TRADEIT Entrepreneurship Summer Academy: A model of best practice

Joan Lockyer, Breda ODwyer, Helena McMahon

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Traditional foods are a significant element of every European Member States’ cultural heritage (European Commission, 2007a). Demand for traditional foods is growing as customers associate them with quality and a return to tradition (Banterle et al, 2008; Banterle and Carresesi, 2007; O’Reilly and Haines, 2004). However, to fully capitalize on the opportunities available, Heathfield (1997, cited in Banterle et al, 2008) argues that SME could use their flexibility and agility to orient their strategies towards the marketplace, focusing less on the product in order to take fuller advantage of the opportunities that arise. Whilst this might be a more attractive proposition to some traditional food producers (TFP) than others, firms can respond differently to the opportunities that they perceive, exploiting their individual resources and capabilities in the development of strategy. This supports growth, based on their resources and capabilities, and encourages heterogeneity in the sector (Carraresi et al, 2011:2). The call, in essence, is for the traditional food producing SME to be more entrepreneurial and innovative in all aspects of their business model design (Stewart and Lockyer, 2014).
    The production and sale of traditional foods is seen as critical to the economic wellbeing of many regions and Europe aims to establish systems to protect registered traditional foods in order to give local produc-ers a framework to produce high quality regional products (European Commission, 2007a). However, the European Commission also believes that by improving the competitiveness and market reach of these products, they will become more sustainable and contribute more effectively to the Lisbon Strategy for increased growth, employment and social welfare (Dale, 2010: 8). To achieve this, the Commission aims to support Member States to modernise their education system to develop a more innovative workforce.
    The idea of promoting a ‘Europe of Knowledge’ was first proclaimed by the European Commission in 1997 (Dale, 2010:3). Through the Europe of Knowledge (KoE), wealth creation would be linked to the production and dissemination of knowledge. The belief is that Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Europe have yet to fulfill their role in society in that their potential contribution to Europe’s prosperity is underexploited (Kwiek and Kurkiewicz, 2012:249). It is argued that stronger links between education, research and business could more effectively contribute to jobs, growth and to the exploitation of marketable products and services (ibid: 255).
    This paper will bring together three key concepts: entrepreneurship, research / education and the competi-tiveness of traditional food producing SMEs. It will present the postgraduate Entrepreneurship Summer Academy (ESA) designed and delivered by the entrepreneurship team of TRADEIT - Traditional Food, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology an FP7 funded project THEME [KBBE 2013.2.2-02] as a model of best practice in entrepreneurial learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2015
    EventUniversity-Industry Interaction Conference - Berlin, Germany
    Duration: 24 Jun 201526 Jun 2015


    ConferenceUniversity-Industry Interaction Conference
    Abbreviated titleUIIN


    • Entrepreneurship
    • Traditional food producing SMEs
    • Commercialisation
    • Innovation
    • Knowledge transfer
    • Research
    • Experiential learning


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