|Ethical Food Entrepreneurships
|EFE will contribute to the professional development of food HEI Educators by increasing their pedagogic skills to develop and teach new food entrepreneurship supports based on triple-bottom-line businesses (planet, people, profit). We will empower a new generation of food entrepreneurs to start, grow & adapt new ethical food enterprises.
By empowering HEI educators to commit to EFE innovative learning and teaching practices to tackle societal challenges, we will upskill students as potential ethical food entrepreneurs and accelerate progress across key elements of the SDGs. When we empower SMEs and start-ups, we are directly helping to breed the innovative food concepts & thriving new businesses that EU needs.
EFE has clear and simple objectives:
1. Develop a programme of learning actions & guidance on how to grow an ethical food business in fulfilment of SDG 8 and SDG 10, enabling food producers to be drivers of equitable & sustainable growth, reducing inequalities & creating employment.
2. Create a set of OERs to be delivered via HEI/VET educators to empower a new generation of food leaders with the tools to develop & sustain an ethical food business & the ability to apply ethical decision-making across a range of issues impacting the food industry.
EFE is aligned to the SDG's which recognise & nurture the food producers' role in:
• promoting healthy nutrition (target 2.2), (role in enhancing nutritional diversity)
• prioritising sustainable food production systems (target 2.4), (role as custodians of land & natural resources)
• maintaining agricultural biodiversity (target 2.5), (role in promoting diversity of food & nutrition production systems)
|The food industry is a complex, global collective of diverse businesses that supply our food in the context of great environmental challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the frailties of the food sector & its supply chain. It also has upended local, national & global food systems & put the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) further out of reach. The world’s growing food demand & the need for ethical and sustainable practices have become a challenge that the EU & the UN are encouraging us all to tackle. The European Green Deal & the SDGs are setting the framework for this challenge.
The food & drink industry is the EU's biggest manufacturing sector in terms of jobs & value-added. The industry is dominated by SMEs (9/10 food & drink companies in Europe are SMEs) with 289,000 companies & 4.2 million employees. However, self-employment in the EU has not risen in decades, remaining at ~15% of the EU labour force. Potential entrepreneurs & SMEs have been slow to respond - they report they do not have the professional capacity or skills base to innovate/orchestrate change in the entrepreneurship, development, production & marketing of ethical food.
Covid-19 has caused food consumers to reflect on their previous choices/patterns & instigated them to realign their needs/wants with ethical and health factors. Healthfulness has now become the biggest motivator for consumers compared with research carried out a decade ago. Ethical food production & sustainable sourcing are other high-ranking factors.
COVID-19 has created the opportunity to repurpose food entrepreneurship training to specialise in healthy foods and resilient, sustainable production. Current food entrepreneurship training in our partner countries is generic and has failed to keep pace with post-pandemic influences. The time is right for EFE. Ethical food production includes consideration of people (the consumer & employees), the environment (centred on environmental sustainability) & animals (mainly concerned with animal rights & welfare).
|PR1 – Educators Guide on Drivers and Enablers for Innovation of Ethical Foods
Rigorously researched, forward focused knowledge on the business opportunities arising from ethical/clean foods. A wide scoping report which presents both policy & market/consumer trends, drawing conclusions about the opportunities, benefits & challenges of food SMEs developing innovative ethical foods.
PR2: Innovating Ethical Foods, Entrepreneurship Manual
PR 2 will publish a direct-learning Manual specifically crafted to help students and potential food entrepreneurs understand the steps involved in starting/diversifying into an ethical food business. This is the first start-up resource that will be designed specifically for this unique segment of the food industry. It will ultimately strengthen and facilitate entrepreneurial knowledge and skills gain of young people and those who wish to start their own ethical food business.
PR3 – Open Education Resources (OERs) to Teach a 90-Day Ethical Food Entrepreneurship Programme
A comprehensive set of OERs to enable educators deliver a Developing an Ethical Food Enterprise programme in 90 days. The OERs will include curricula, learning objectives, evaluation techniques and assignments for classroom-based courses. This time dependent guide is purposely adopted to share the urgent need for action and will appeal to time poor students and potential entrepreneurs. The development of an intuitive pedagogy and trainer resources will increase competencies in teaching entrepreneurship in ethical food which will be in full cognisance of EntreComp.
PR4 Ethical Food Entrepreneurship Sharing and Mentoring Platform
This is an innovative online collaboration zone for our three target groups where emerging ethical food students, entrepreneurs and start-ups can get guidance from peers, educators and experts across different areas of ethical food (entrepreneurship, food science, climate friendly packaging, ethical green finance, empathetic marketing) and any other topic that will expand their knowledge and allow them to proceed with confidence on their ethical food entrepreneurship journey. It will also encourage interactivity between educators interested in this topic across Europe. They will be able to find and interact with likeminded advocates of ethical food innovation and entrepreneurship. It will be an engaging learning space to communicate, engage in discussions and share knowledge with others.
|EFE will impact each of our key target groups and participants and leads to the achievement of our main goal: transmitting the knowledge and skills that Educators & Learners (students, future and diversifying entrepreneurs) need to update their knowledge and skills in ethical food entrepreneurship.
TG1 EDUCATORS (PR1 Educators Guide)
HEI organisations and educators will be empowered with resources and learning strategies to enhance their course content and delivery. Educators will increase the depth and breadth of their knowledge of ethical food entrepreneurship and gain access to innovative tools and methods to teach it effectively. EFE will contribute to Educators professional development by increasing their pedagogic skills and supplying high-quality learning resources that can be delivered through HEI informal and non-formal settings tailored to HEI student learning needs and levels. Particularly at the EFE Learning Week, they will be equipped with the ability and shown how to provide cutting edge educational perspectives and gain specialist knowledge blending innovative learning and teaching practices that deliver on food entrepreneurship and innovation based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and European Green Deal. They will now be in a position of strengthened reputation empowering a new generation of ethical food entrepreneurship educators, students and innovative businesses.
Similarly, the institutions integrating these services will consolidate their position as future-oriented organisations ready to contribute to 21st-century skills development in the face of a rapidly changing and climate urgent context.
TG2 STUDENTS & FUTURE ENTREPRENEURS (PR2 Manual, PR3 OERs)
As a result of Ethical Food Entrepreneurs, students and future entrepreneur learners will:
• Overcome competencies barriers in EntreComp aligned entrepreneurship education, become more market and environmentally aware of the need to acquire ethical food enterprise skills because of increasing societal demand and commercialisation potential.
• Acquire entirely new knowledge and skills both insightful & practical in the area of ethical food entrepreneurship while also improving their IT & communication competence through the use of all the online resources and assessments.
• Become a part of a food community or network of similar minded entrepreneurs via the sharing & mentoring platform where peer learning & knowledge sharing is supported.
TG3 EXISTING FOOD SMEs (PR2 Guide, PR4 Mentoring Platform)
As a result of using EFE and taking the course or participating in the project SME owners, managers will be able to
• Overcome barriers to change when it comes to delivering food with a focus on resilient, sustainable production.
• Acquire new knowledge and skills to change how they manage, develop, produce and market ethical food
• Have access to the first EU startup resource designed specifically for the ethical food sector and PR4 Mentoring Platform will provide them with the support and information they need in the format of discussion, sharing ideas and business practices.
• EFE skills will enable them to contribute to the EU labour market through a more effective ethical enterprise culture & enhance their own business capabilities.
• They will receive economic advantages through developing new innovative ethical foods for a fast-growing market.
|EFE brings together six partners committed to the food sector and tackling skills deficits in response to societal challenge and opportunities. Together, we comprise a multi-disciplinary team spanning HEI (SUAS, ABU, IPB), food SME enablers/VET (BIA & MMS) and technical realisation EUEI. EFE was instigated by SUAS and BIA as a much-needed project to collaborate on, Supporting SME’s & Innovation and Sustainability & Feeding the Planet. EFE gave these core partners the opportunity to bring in diverse partners from their networks, as follows.
SUAS has significant experience in leading multi-disciplined and multi-partner transnational projects as an overall co-coordinator or work lead partner. Finland is a pioneer and competitive pacemaker of a responsible food chain and Finnish food policy is seen as a model to the world. SUAS leadership role is supported by their knowledge of Open Innovative Space pedagogical approach, coordination expertise, innovative knowledge transfer models and activities, consumer-oriented product development practices from Future Food RDI hub.
BIA Innovator Campus, compliments EFE through its work to build and innovate the food sector in the West of Ireland. While the food sector in Ireland is still the backbone of many communities, jobs at Enterprise Ireland-backed food companies fell 1.5 per cent in 2020. EFE will help BIA to increase ethical food teaching and entrepreneurship, deliver real innovation and sustainability supports and deliver value added learning to students and start-up enterprises.
IPB-Braganca is a HEI that had previously worked with SUAS on the Tradeit project. In addition to impressive HE teaching capacity, a co-located Research Institute CIMO is located on campus which has strong industry involvement. These SMEs are keen to participate in the EFE activities suggested in the present proposal.
Antalya Bilim University (ABU) also has academic strength and industry engagement. An existing contact of SUAS, Turkey traditionally produces more food than its domestic consumption. The Turkish food sector employs more than 100,000 staff in more than 28,000 enterprises. Turkey is a country where agricultural output shows significant increases every year. However, the ethics of food and agriculture is a new subject in Turkey, hence transfer of innovation will be a key learning for ABU as part of EFE.
MOMENTUM specializes in innovative approaches to learning and enterprise development. They have years of experience in EU innovation and transfer of innovation and bring a strong track record in curriculum development.
EUEI (DK)strengthens our pedagogical approach, bringing their expertise in the creation of immersive online educational environments. EUEI are uniquely experienced in ensuring the technology serves the pedagogic strategy and content, and not vice versa. Denmark’s position as one of the world leaders on food sustainability was reinforced when it came second in the ‘sustainable agriculture’ and third in the ‘tackling nutritional challenges’ parts of the 2018 Food Sustainability Index.
All partners bring a strong track record in EU project work, some are more experienced than others in Erasmus+ projects. This will strengthen the work ethos & lead to increased confidence and ease of communication within the partnership, helping us to move quickly to the operational phase of the project.
On the other hand, despite their long history of European collaboration, many partners are “new” to each other, having not worked with each other previously. This will bring freshness and optimise knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer learning.
Above all, we hope that our shared level of commitment to EU processes and values will be valuable in helping us reflect EU culture and priorities in the materials we produce. This includes a focus on Ethical Food Entrepreneurship & its triple bottom line, as key transversal elements in our training resources.