There is robust evidence indicating that human capital drives economic growth and social capital and makes a major contribution towards achieving the Lisbon goals for a competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy. In this context, the project is intended toward the adaptability of the human capital to the current economic conditions, while ensuring that knowledge & know-how transfer from the ageing workforce to the next generation in enterprise succession is achieved.
The overall aim of the project is to provide the ageing workforce and its successors with the skills and capacity needed for sustainable business transfer through the development of innovative solutions. The active involvement of local authorities in smoothing out the path for successful business transfer is crucial, not only for regional economies, but, also, for ensuring a balanced social existence and future regional development (www.stiglitz-sen-fitoussi.fr/documents/rapport_anglais.pdf).
Extensive use of ICT prevents the loss of knowledge owned by the ageing workforce. More importantly, entrepreneurs and workforce can benefit from collaborating with local authorities, a process which constitutes the most innovative aspect of TOK-TOC. The PPs understand the important role of regional and local stakeholders in actions and activities in following national and European growth and employment objectives. TOC-TOK will demonstrate that supporting an ageing workforce has a national added value, plays a strong role in maintaining an active society and contributes to each individual's reaching of market potential. In this context, 3 cultural aspects related to the ageing workforce affect SME transfer, that is, how the aged workers learn, how the market reacts towards the aging workforce, how the aging workforce transfers its knowledge, know-how and experience to its younger successors.
The main objectives of the project are:
To enhance the involvement of local authorities
in the successful transfer of businesses as major source of job creation and sustainable growth;
To support the improvement of economic performance through greater adaptability of the labour force to changing technological circumstances, providing workers with the knowledge, skills, and competences needed in a knowledge-based society.
To explore the knowledge and experience of the ageing workforce
This will be achieved with the identification of best practices, exchange and sharing of regional and national policies through workshops and study visits, the analysis of their transferability in different social, legislative and economic environments among project partners and the creation and pilot testing of a transferable, sustainable model compiled from the experiences and good practices of more advanced partners to enhance least advanced partners with the implementation of municipal services for supporting business transfers in two regions.
The Lead Partner (LP) selected the project coordinator/contact person and initiated project planning discussions in order to generate the appropriate working environment for reaching project targets and goals. Frm the outset,TOK-TOC’s partners adopted the view of developing or supporting new SME-transfer policies and knowledge-transfer strategies and tools in EU by involving local stakeholders. With this assumption in mind, TOK-TOC's kick-off held in Athens on March 26th, 2012, brought together the partners, the LP’s Board of Directors and administration, local government representatives, policy makers, researchers, and journalists. Simultaneous translation enhanced the participation of non-English native speakers in project related discussions. The issued press release and the press conference that followed TOK-TOC’s kick-off depicted the problems involved under SME transfer conditions and prompted the publication of a series of articles in newspapers, magazines and websites. The 1st Steering Committee (SC) of TOK-TOC was hosted in Athens, on March 27, 2012, the day after an inspiring kick-off ceremony. The Technical Committee was formed as well. During the SC meeting, the LP presented the INTERREG IVC rules and procedures guiding TOK-TOC’s management and communication actions and activities (components 1 & 2), paying special attention to the timely completion and high quality of project deliverables. Special attention was paid on the specifications of (a) the Methodology for implementing component 3, (b) the Best Practices Handbook and (c) the e-Platform. Finally, the role of the municipal authorities in pilot testing of TOK-TOC's SME Transfer Model was emphasized (Component 4). This final part of TOK-TOC is the crucial for the whole success of the project. Throughout the 1st semester, the partners maintained the momentum of TOK-TOC’s implementation being constantly in contact through SKYPE calls. Following the the INTERREG IVC Seminar in Sofia on April 17, 2012, the partners proceeded with the preparation of the Corporate Identity Manual and the Communication Plan. All the communication and dissemination materials for TOK-TOC were designed (logo, brochure #1, 2 posters, folder) and published before the end of the 1st semester (logo, brochure #1, 2 posters) and yielded many positive comments from local stakeholders. The multilingual portal (www.toc-toc.eu) with its intranet/forum were prepared as well. The e-dissemination material were loaded on the portal (1st e-newsletter and other information materials) and partners contributed with enthuciasm materials and information from their respective regions.