Entrepreneurial Learning Exchange Initiative for Sustainable Hospitality SMEs in the Balkan-Mediterranean Region


Priority axis Enterpreneurship and Innovation
Specific Objective Territories of Knowledge
Call 1st Call for Project Proposals
Lead Partner Varna University of Management
Partners Culinary Arts and Hospitality Association
Institute of Economics, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University
Macedonian-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce
University of Durres “Aleksander Moisiu”
University of Shkodra “Luigj Gurakuqi”
University of Thessaly, Department of Planning and Regional Development
Budget 579.060,07 €

The HELIX initiative targets three main growth impediments in the Balkan-Mediterranean area: 1. entrepreneurial skills shortages and the associated loss of competitiveness, 2. insufficient innovation capacity, 3. inefficient use of natural resources in the hospitality and tourism industry. It will improve the training offer in hospitality in view of building sustainability and innovation skills within SMEs, thereby boosting the sector’s competitiveness and growth. The project will improve knowledge transfer between education and business (with a focus on SMEs) in the fields of innovation management and environmental and economic sustainability.

The main objective is to increase the competencies for sustainable business and innovation (especially among SMEs and entrepreneurs) in the Balkan-Med hospitality sector, in particular by developing effective learning and practice communities, learning tools and joint educational offers aimed at strengthening sector-specific skills for sustainability and adoption of technological and managerial innovations.

The main deliverable are: 1) Regional Needs Assessment Report for hospitality SME sustainability; 2) Best practice database with sustainable development solutions; 3) Regional Action Plan (transnational and national level) for encouraging the competitiveness of hospitality SMEs; 4) "Sustainable Tourism Pedagogy" and “Entrepreneurial Skills for Sustainable Hospitality Enterprises” curricula and courses with pathways for VET, HEI, LLL and OERs; 5) Company mentorship tool for introducing technological and business innovations for sustainability in SMEs; 6) HELIX Transnational Network; 7) Mentorship trainings, capacity building and pilot blended mobility skill building courses; 8) Experience Exchange and Employment Fair for sustainable hospitality.

The project will create value by improving the content and methodology of higher and continuous vocational education and training in hospitality, namely by opening them up to key emerging subjects of increasing real-world business relevance - innovations management, resource efficiency and sustainability. HELIX will seek to create a regional knowledge system for a sustainable hospitality industry supported by a collaborative regional learning, expert and practice community. It will also tackle the irrelevance of traditional business education in the field of hospitality which currently fails to produce graduates with skills that are adequate and sufficient to move the SME sector in the direction of social responsibility and the creation of shared value benefiting both society and business.

HELIX is based on targeted cooperation between relevant higher education institutions and business support organizations. The consortium is connected to both business and policy-making bodies in the Balkan-Med area and is well positioned to multiply and sustain the project results, ensuring their durable impact on stakeholders.

Communication Plan

HELIX Communication Plan