Students & Sme’s Working Together to benefit Europe

A number of SMEs are feeling the economic slow down in Europe in many ways, not least through their difficulties in attracting sales and generating the necessary business opportunities. On the other hand there are also an increased number of graduates and students who are experiencing difficulties in finding employment due to the same economic issues. The core of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project addresses the vital relationships that students and SMEs have and the opportunities that are presented by increasing the number of student work placements and internships, which give SMEs the needed added resource to boost their trade opportunities; students also gain by learning work ethics and getting vital experience for their future careers.

A Passport to Trade 2.0 workshop dedicated to Students & SMEs working together to benefit Europe was held on April 11th, 2013 at Valahia University Târgovişte, in Romania.

The workshop was attended by students of Valahia University Târgovişte, Faculty of Economics, from bachelor, master and Ph.D. Studies, and business representatives from DâmboviţaCounty.

During the workshop 3 key points were addressed.

Opportunities for studying and finding a work placement in other European countries

First of all, students discovered how to use the site to access information about opportunities for studying and finding a work placement in other European countries.  This aspect was presented by Milanka Dimitrova Slavova, Technology Development and Innovation – TDI Ltd, Bulgaria.

Importance of understanding cultural differences

The importance of understanding cultural differences when dealing in international trade was discussed. This was particularly highlighted with examples of culturally based viral marketing campaigns as was illustrated by the American ROM case study in Romania:

American ROM case study

In this case study cultural values were activated by a marketing campaign which allowed a brand to be re-energised by becoming controversial. This was done with a number of other cultural references such as the Athenos brand:

Athenos Case Study

Whilst not SMEs these two illustrate how a good use of a viral marketing campaign via social media can benefit a business.

Social media as a useful tool for both students and SMEs

Attendees also gained insight into social media as a useful tool for both students and SMEs. This presentation was given by Aleksej Heinze, SalfordBusinessSchool, University of Salford, UK.  The audience was challenged to provide insightful comments and discussed their views on the application of social media in business and for student branding. Those who took an active part in the discussions and gave the most complete answers to the questions were rewarded with a Salford Business School T-shirt. Congratulations to all the prize-winners who are: Tudorache Ana-Maria, Ph.D. student in Management; Nuţă Flavia, Corporate Management master program student and Apostolov Kiril, bachelor program student in Finances.

Students discovered how to use social media to their advantage;  the increasing importance of personal branding and how social media can play both positive and negative roles in their future employment. In particular the discussion was based around some of the ideas which were developed  for Passport to Trade 2.0 project website. ideas examples on

Finally, Verena HausmannInstitute for Information Systems Research at University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany in her presentation highlighted the increasing role that social media plays in international trade marketing, as well as opportunities to advertise vacancies, or to identify student placement opportunities, share useful information and so on. The discussions highlighted the need for students and SMEs’ representatives to know basic information about the country they are planning to visit as a matter of cultural exchange but also as a tool in overcoming behavioural barriers.

Click here to read this article in  Romanian.